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Deacon and Missionary 







Mutual Publishing Company, Printers 

The following pages are reprinted from the columns 
of the Carolina Churchman where they 
appeared from January to July, 1920 

Copies may be obtained from 
The Carolina Churchman, Raleigh, N. C. 
Price, Fifty Cents Each 


The following account of the life and work of the 
Rev. Milnor Jones was written in 1916. It was be- 
gun with the purpose of making it an obituary 
notice, to be sent to some one of our Church papers. 
Such a life seemed worthy of being known beyond 
the bounds of its own narrow sphere. But though 
begun with this very limited purpose, the subject 
refused to be dismissed with so brief a handling. It 
grew under my hand, until it may seem to some to 
have outgrown all reasonable proportions. I am 
quite conscious that some good and judicious people 
will think me partial and over-appreciative in my 
estimate of this unusual personality. I shall not 
complain if I be so judged. I confess that I cannot 
refrain from admiring and loving good and noble 
qualities, however mingled with human imperfec- 
tions. A more serious apprehension is, that I may 
be thought to have colored and exaggerated certain 
episodes in the life I endeavor to present. I feel 
myself that this may be true, in those parts of the 
narrative which are given upon the authority of 
others. Where I am myself concerned, the facts are 
given, not merely from memory, but from memo- 
randa written down at the time, though I am not 
altogether sure of my estimate of distances in the 
mountains. But Milnor Jones was so striking a char- 
acter, and so intense and dramatic in his methods, 
that he moved the imagination; and his experiences, 
in his own mind, and in the minds of others, seemed 

to group themselves into dramatic episodes, in wliicli 
a number of different events may have been com- 
bined into one. Such incidents, for example, as his 
visit to the Seagle family, and his immersion of the 
young lawyer in Armstrong's Creek, are given in the 
narrative just as I heard them, and are certainly 
true in every essential. But each story may in fact 
be a concentration of more extended experiences 
into one dramatic scene. I do not know how this 
may be ; but I do know that, so far as I was able, I 
w^rote down what I had learned, and what I myself 
had seen and heard, with a simple desire to set forth 
a true narrative of a unique character. I do not 
apologize for stating frankly his limitations, his 
errors, and his faults. When a man is really deserv- 
ing of admiration, the truth is his best commenda- 
tion. Milnor Jones had nothing hidden in his life ; 
and in writing of him I have but followed his own 
example of frankness and simple truth. The years 
which have passed since I wrote the following pages 
have not altered my feelings or my judgment as 
therein expressed. 


January 12, 1920. 


By Joseph Blount Cheshire. 

His Begfinning" — Work in South Carolina. 

Men of strongly marked personality make differ- 
ent impressions upon the different persons with 
whom they are brought into contact. 

The Rev. Milnor Jones, deacon, who died in Balti- 
more the 21st day of February, 1916, seems to the 
writer of these lines to have been one of the most 
remarkable men, and in many respects the most 
effective missionary, he has ever known in close per- 
sonal association. Wholly lacking in selfish ambi- 
tion, and preferring to remain a deacon in hard 
frontier service, and being indeed very deficient in 
constructive and organizing abilities, his memory 
did not become identified with any developed and 
permanent parish or institution. He hewed out 
paths in the wilderness in which others followed ; he 
gathered material and dug out foundations for 
builders who came after him. His memorial was 
only in the hearts of those who knew him, and in 
churches and missions which even before his death 
hardly remembered that they owed their beginings 
to him. 

I knew him from 1883 until the end of the year 
1897, but saw him only once after ]897. I was inti- 
mately associated with him in his work from 1894 
until the end of 1897. I admired tiim, trusted him, 
and loved him ; and he never failed me in any matter 
in which I depended on him. He was the soul of 
loyalty. I feel that I owe it to his memory to say a 
few words of a life which had in it certainly some 
elements of greatness, exhibited in a narrow sphere, 
and of an apostolic simplicity of faith and devotion 



not too common among us. And I feel that I owe 
this duty also to the Church, which he served with 
a zeal, unselfishness, courage, and unremitting labor 
seldom equaled and never surpassed within the field 
of my observation and experience. 

He was not a perfect man. I have known a few 
men and women who, whatever their faults when 
judged by the clear eyes of Him to Whom we must 
all give account, were yet perfect to my limited 
vision; a very few such, yet some few. Milnor 
Jones was not one of these. Rather he was a man 
of quite glaring imperfections and faults. I am 
endeavoring to speak the exact truth, so I must say 
this. When he turned from a life of careless irre- 
ligioii and began to walk in a better way, he delib- 
erately chose to work among the very poorest and 
most uncultivated people of our mountain section ; 
and he literally took his place close beside them, and 
made himself one with them in sympathy and hab- 
itual association. He endeavored to enter into their 
life and sentiments, to know them inwardly, and to 
acquire their modes of thought, feeling, and expres- 
sion, so that he might understand them, and that 
they might understand him. He did not become all 
things to all men, because he was not the great 
Apostle whose mission was to all. He remained by 
preference in the lowest order of the ministry, and 
he made himself all things to the lowly whom he 
had chosen for his own. And so he did not escape 
that assimilation (in some degree) to those whom he 
thus chose for his associates, which might have been 
anticipated. To cultivated and refined sensibilities 
he at times appeared to be rude, and coarse, and 
violent; and indeed he was so. It was the result of 
his deliberate effort to enter into the lives and 
hearts of those to whom he would fain carry the 
Gospel, 'Hhat by all means he might save some." 
But he was never flippant, or ribald, or resentful of 
any personal slight or injury, or really irreverent. 


There was an intense earnestness, gravity and seri- 
ousness in his manner, in the deep tones of his voice, 
and in the rather ^ad expression of his dark eye, 
which gave to his rudest and homeliest illustrations 
and arguments, and to his most violent utterances, 
an honest reality and solemnity felt by all those for 
whom he spoke. He was not a popular preacher. 
Many, no doubt, who came to scoff remained to 
pray. He made powerful impressions on his hearers. 
But also many went away furious and raging with 
resentment. He had his own ideas of how best to 
get at the minds and consciences of his hearers. 
And, deacon as he was, he did not scruple on occa- 
sion to tell his bishop that the sermon he (the 
bishop) had just preached "did no more good than 
pouring water on a duck's back." And his bishop 
is proud to record the incident, although he thinks 
it was a pretty fair sermon. He is proud to have 
had a good and loyal and honest deacon, who could 
thus speak to him without the least thought of 
offense on either side. And, being such as he was, 
he exercised his ministry for something like a quar- 
ter of a century, and went in and out among the 
people ; and certainly in the mountains of North 
Carolina did a work whose results are now greater 
than are seen or realized by those who have taken 
his place ; and he did his work in a spirit which 
elicits this effort to do honor to his memory. 

Milnor Jones was born in Chestertown, Md., No- 
vember 10, 1848. He was the son of the Rev. Clem- 
ent Frederick Jones, a native, I believe, of Philadel- 
phia, who spent many years of his ministry in Ches- 
tertown, Maryland, and who, from 1857 until his 
death in 1877, was a clergyman of South Carolina, 
residing near Glenn Springs. The Rev. Clement 
Jones married in Chestertown a daughter of the 


Hon. Ezekiel Chambers, a member of the United 
States Senate, and an eminent member among such 
contemporaries as Clay, Calhoun, Benton, and Web- 
ster, and for many years one of the most distin- 
guished members of the General Convention. Mil- 
nor Jones was educated in the local schools of his 
father's place of residence, and in Washington Col- 
lege, Chestertown. He grew up amid cultivated and 
refined surroundings, and under the best social and 
religious influences. But he had "a wild streak in 
his blood," as men say, and grew up bold, reckless, 
and, to a great extent, undisciplined. In early man- 
hood he went to Texas, where he lived for some 
years, practiced law, and married. The illness and 
disability of his father recalled him to some serious- 
ness of thought, and then an accident, by which he 
came near losing his life, produced a total change in 
his character. While riding a wild and dangerous 
horse, the bit broke, and in consequence he lost con- 
trol of the animal, and was thrown with such vio- 
lence to the ground that for weeks he lay in a help- 
less and critical condition. There came upon him, 
during the long hours of this painful experience, a 
deep sense of religious duty, together with a very 
solemn realization of the sin and folly of his wasted 
life, so that he determined, if he should recover, to 
devote his life to the service of God in the ministry. 
Singleness of purpose and directness of thought 
were his special characteristics. No sooner had he 
regained his health and strength than he proceeded, 
in May, 1873, to the University of the South, at 
Sewanee, and began his studies in preparation for 
Holy Orders. But he could not wait for ordination 
before beginning the work to which he had now de- 
voted himself. From the very first he began to seek 
out those, anywhere and everywhere, to whom he 
might bring the truth and power of the Gospel, and 
he became in eflPect a preacher wherever he could 
find hearers. The many deep coves indenting the 



slopes of the great Cumberland plateau, upon wliicli 
the University of the South is situated, inhabited 
by a people who had been for generations far re- 
mote from the education and culture of the more 
accessible portions of the country, afforded him a 
boundless field for the exercise of his missionary 
zeal. The clergymen connected with the University, 
whose proper duties were manifold and onerous, 
found his demands upon them for services rather 
troublesome. One stout and florid instructor, who, 
having no special pastoral duties in the institution, 
was frequently called upon by him, never ceased 
while he lived to speak, half in complaint and more 
than half in admiration, of how "Milnor Jones made 
me almost walk my legs off, up and down the moun- 
tain-sides," to baptize the candidates whom his dili- 
gence and pertinacity had always in waiting. The 
directness of his appeals and his untiring persist- 
ence, with the surprising success ensuing, gave rise 
to many stories which are yet remembered and re- 
peated. His habitual absorption in the one thought 
of his religious work, and his direct and homely 
appeals in the most vigorous language he could com- 
mand, seemed often grotesque and humorous in con- 
trast with our common careless and conventional 
religion ; and a ludicrous turn is given to many of 
the stories told of him, then and later. But there 
was ncA^er any doubt of his sincerity and earnest- 
ness, nor of the reality and value of the results of 
his work. 

While at Sewanee, Bishop Quintard appointed 
him to work as a lay missionary in the mining camp 
at Tracy City, in Which Avork he was associated with 
a fellow-student, John Kershaw, now the distin- 
guished rector of St. Michael's Church, Charleston. 
Dr. Kershaw, referring to that period, says: ''My 
personal acquaintance with him began in 1873 or 
1874, and soon ripened into warm friendship. ]\Iy 


impression is that he secured the money to erect a 
chapel there (at Tracy City)." 

He was ordered deacon by Bishop Howe, of South 
Carolina, May 14, 1876, and spent some months 
working as city missionary in Charleston. Dr. Ker- 
shaw writes: "In visiting the City Hospital and 
Almshouse, and elsewhere in the slums of the city, 
he saw so much misery and distress that, as he told 
me, he could not endure it ; he thought it would 
drive him mad to stay and witness such suffering." 
With the permission of the bishop, he therefore re- 
turned to his father's house at Glenn Springs, in 
Spartanburg District. For a year or so he did vol- 
untary missionary work in that neighborhood, also 
giving regular and valuable assistance to the Rev. 
Dr. McCullough, the rector, in the church on Sun-' 
days. He continued this irregular and unattached 
work apparently some two or three years, becoming 
rector of the Church of the Advent, Spartanburg, 
shortly before the Diocesan Convention of 1879. 
Before becoming rector at Spartanburg, he reports 
to the Convention: Baptisms — infants 272, adults 
38, of whom he states that large numbers of them 
"live in places inaccessible to the services of the 

In those days most of our dioceses and parishes, 
especially in the South, were rather slow and old- 
fashioned in their ideas and methods, and it is no 
disparagement of the Diocese of South Carolina to 
say that its people were eminently of this spirit — 
conservative, as we say. Milnor Jones was emphat- 
ically not a conservative. He was a fresh breeze 
from Texas, by way of the Tennessee mountains and 
Sewanee, and he must have given many a thrill and 
shock to the social and ecclesiastical proprieties of 
his old diocese, and of Spartanburg and Glenn 
Springs, where his father had for so many years 
served after so very different a fashion. 

From the beginning of his ministry he was much 


interested in behalf of the negroes. South Carolina 
Churchmen have ever, in their way, been zealous in 
religious work for the negroes; and their way has 
been in many respects a most admirable way. The 
young deacon had no difficulty in enlisting the best 
people of his parish as workers in his negro Sunday- 
school, and he had very soon a house full of little 
black children, duly distributed into classes, and 
assigned to earnest and competent teachers. But he 
rather took their breath away when, immediately 
upon beginning the school, he insisted on baptizing 
the whole body of pupils (whose parents were 
mostly Baptists), requiring the teachers to act as 
sponsors, and doing this upon the plea that the 
children must all be taught the Church Catechism, 
and that in order to be able to say the catechism 
they must be baptized, because the very first ques- 
tion, after learning the child's name, is: ''Who gave 
you this name?" and the child must answer: "My 
sponsors in baptism." 

He was equally interested in the poorer and more 
uneducated white people of the country, and was 
enthusiastic and practical in his labors among them, 
and everywhere and always commanded their confi- 
dence and attracted them to the Church. In 1879 he 
reports : Baptisms — infants, white, 14 ; colored, 48 ; 
confirmations, 14; services, 225. In 1880: Bap- 
tisms — infants 83, adults 6 ; confirmations, 17 ; ser- 
vices, 200. He reports three mission Sunday-schools, 
two for whites and one for negroes (the colored 
school mentioned above) in the suburbs of Spartan- 
burg, and regular preaching appointments covering 
every night in the week in the regions lying around, 
and especially towards the mountains. 

This unexampled zeal and activity, and especially 
his eagerness to baptize all the children upon whom 
he eould lay his hands, made a great impression 
upon all who knew him. Unfortunately, he had the 
faults of his peculiar temperament, and was more 


eager and successful in winning the confidence and 
securing the loyal attachment of his converts than 
in training and instructing them. As he brought in 
his recruits in unusual numbers, and from classes 
and communities which had never before been in 
contact with the Church, we may be reasonably sure 
that they were for the most part without any great 
familiarity with the methods of worship in the 
Church, and but little qualified for the ordinary 
parochial routine of an old and cultivated congrega- 
tion. It was a case of putting new wine into old 
bottles, and Mr. Jones's peculiar methods and ex- 
traordinary activity and success produced a some- 
what perplexing and embarrassing situation. He 
began to feel hampered by the unavoidable conven- 
tionalities of his position. He thought that he was 
not sufficiently supported in his work. He said that 
the bishop was alarmed at the numbers he was 
bringing into the Church, and advised him "to go 
slow." There was no better man than Bishop Howe 
and few wiser bishops; and doubtless Mr. Jones 
needed all the advice and admonition given him. 
But he was constitutionally unable to understand 
such advice, and did not at all believe in "going 
slow." He soon emancipated himself from the 
shackles of parochial administration, with its ves- 
tries and wardens and leading families and local 
traditions and formalisms, and sought a free range 
and a free hand, first in the vicinity of Spartanburg, 
and then in the adjacent mountains of North Caro- 

In his report to the Convention of 1880 he says 
that he has "Resigned the charge of the Church of 
the Advent some weeks since, and [is] devoting 
much time to missionary work, with encouraging- 
results. The following are the regular appoint- 
ments, in addition to Sunday services: Vicinity of 
Hog Back Mountain, Monday nights; suburbs of 
Spartanburg (at Mrs. Simons 's), Tuesday nights; 


at County Almshouse, Wednesday afternoons; at 
Valley Falls and vicinity, Wednesday nights; at 
Bomar College, Thursday nights; at Lone Oak, Fri- 
day nights." He says he is having parochial schools 
for children, and that he distributes many Prayer 
Books and tracts. 

At this time, his father having died in 1877, he 
was possessed of a considerable estate, and made 
investments in mountain lands in Polk and Ruther- 
ford Counties, North Carolina. He was an astonish- 
ingly poor business man, and it may be said here^ 
once for all, that he very soon managed to lose the 
whole of his property, except some invested funds, 
of which he received only the interest. Once and 
again at subsequent periods of his life the death of 
relatives brought him some considerable sums of 
money, but he soon spent what he had. His business 
interests, however, after he resigned the parish at 
Spartanburg, brought him into North Carolina, and 
wherever he came he preached. Becoming interested 
in the people of this primitive section, and finding 
the free and irresponsible work of an itinerant mis- 
sionary more suited to his temperament and to his 
capacities than more regular work, he soon estab- 
lished his headquarters at Tryon, in Polk County, 
and gave up his work in South Carolina, though his 
family remained for a year or two longer in their 
Spartanburg home. In 1881 he made his last report 
to the Convention of South Carolina. He says: "My 
work for the last twelve months has been greatly 
blessed. I have preached at the five places (appa- 
rently referring to the places mentioned in his re- 
port of 1880) generally weekly, besides other occa- 
sional appointments. In addition, I have a regular 
weekly appointment at Tryoi^ City,* and one at 
Columbus, N. C. Sunday-schools in operation at 
four points. I have received no pay for my services, 
not having applied for any. I have preached more 
than three hundred times, and am now preaching on 


an average of once a day throughout the year.'* 
This was the last year of his connection with the 
Diocese of South Carolina. The above quotation 
shows that in the spring of 1881 he had made a defi- 
nite connection with North Carolina, and seems to 
imply that he had his two Sunday appointments, 
one in Tryon and the other in Columbus, the county- 
seat of Polk County. By 1882 he had relinquished 
all his appointments in South Carolina, and in Au- 
gust, 1882, he was transferred to the Diocese of 
North Carolina. 


North Carolina: Polk, Rutherford, and Henderson 

While his family remained in Spartanburg, Mr. 
Jones made his usual abode in Tryon with Dr. and 
Mrs. Cureton, the only Church family then residing 
in Polk County, as I am informed. 

Tryon is in direct communication with Spartan- 
burg, only 27 miles distant on the railroad, so that 
he could spend part of each week with his family. 
It seems to have been with the beginning of his 
work in North Carolina that Mr. Jones fully de- 
veloped his peculiar and characteristic methods. He 
was not at all a pastor ; he had little or no power of 
administration or of organization. He never aspired 
to PriestsJ Orders, or felt any vocation that way. 
He used to say that the Lord had sent him to preach 
the Gospel and to baptize. He had no desire for a 
parish or for a fixed field or work, or even, so far as 
I could judge, for a settled and permanent place of 
abode. He liked to be going. His field could not be; 
too large, nor his appointments too many. 
wished to be a pioneer, and to move on to wider- 
fields when the work which he had begun had beert 
organized and put upon a regular course of adminis- 
tration. And he liked to choose his own points of 
attack. He had his own methods, and he chose un- 
likely places. One of his first appointments in the 
country near Tryon was at a country liquor shop 
and distillery, the most depraved locality in all the 
section around. There he attacked intemperance 
and lawlessness and other prevalent forms of immor- 
ality. And he kept it up until he had driven the 
liquor shop out of business. He had an eye and a 
heart for the picturesque and the romantic. On the 
first Fourth of July, after he began work in North 



Carolina, he made an appointment for service on the 
cop of Tryon Mountain, and preached there to a 
great gathering of the mountain people. 

The county jail was one of his regular places of 
visitation, and he made more than one valued friend 
among its occasional inmates. The prevalent popu- 
lar opinion as to the corruption and venality of the 
local officials in the administration of the revenue 
laws, and the general feeling among the uneducated 
mountaineers, that a man had a natural right to do 
as he would with his own, made many a man in that 
section an offender against the Federal statutes, who 
was by no means a hardened or even a conscious 
criminal. Mr. Jones was uncompromising in his 
testimony against intemperance and against lawless- 
ness of all kinds; but he could appreciate the diffi- 
culties, and could understand the ignorance, of the 
mountain people, and he had a heart to pity all 
kinds of suffering, especially the sorrows of the poor 
and ignorant. His kindness and sympathy shown to 
the prisoners in Polk County jail, in Columbus, 
opened many a cabin door to him, and many a 
friendly heart. He soon made himself known and 
his influence felt throughout the county and in the 
adjoining counties of Henderson on one side and 
Rutherford on the other. He was constantly in the 
saddle, traversing the country and visiting the people 
in their homes in the valleys and on the mountain- 

At this period his preaching was chiefly directed 
against drunkenness, lawlessness, and the common 
forms of open vice prevalent among uneducated, 
scattered and uncultivated people, where the young 
and ignorant are without the protection of strong 
public opinion and the safeguards of cultivated 
social order. But his devotion to children, and his 
desire to gather them all into Sunday-schools, and, 
above all, his efforts to bring them all to holy bap- 


tism, soon brought him into conflict and controversy 
with the Baptists, and he gradually developed a 
skill and a power as a controversial preacher, which 
greatly extended his reputation, but was eventually 
a great hindrance to his usefulness. Dr. Kershaw 
says of him in this connection: "He had a mind of 
extraordinary quickness of perception, a fine mem- 
ory, a vocabulary of wide range, and wonderful 
energy, dauntless courage, and a personality of great 
strength and influence. His legal training made him 
a special pleader of much power. He knew his Bible 
from cover to cover, and while his heart was kind- 
ness itself, he loved controversy." Perhaps his most 
admirable quality as a controversialist was an im- 
perturbable temper and a perfect freedom from sen- 
sitiveness or resentment for anything done or said 
against himself; with an admirable turn of humor, 
which never failed to seize and utilize, to the full, 
any opening by which his opponent might be placed 
in an absurd or ludicrous position, and driven from 
the field by ridicule or sarcasm. Therefore, to me, 
he never seemed a very fair controversialist. He 
was wonderfully effective, and his own feeling was 
that he was maintaining the truth, and if any con- 
tumacious opposer of the truth obstructed his path, 
he would get rid of him and put him out of his way, 
by the readiest method he could find, so that his 
work might not be hindered. Whether the argu- 
ment was sound and to the point, or whether it was 
only such as would demolish his adversary, did not 
seem to him very material, so he got rid of the ad- 
versary. He did not argue to get at the truth. He 
already had the truth, and his argument with an 
opponent was simply to shut the opponent's mouth 
and dispose of him, that he might go on with his 
work. Not but what his positions were usually well 
taken, his arguments sound, and his reasoning accu- 
rate — only he did not seem to look upon controversy 


as a means of discovering or displaying the truth 
but as a means of getting rid of a nuisance in the 
form of an opposer of the truth. He was absolutely 
loyal and devoted to the Church, with a love and 
devotion beyond what he felt for anything else on 
earth; and his utter dedication and consecration to 
his work was such as is seldom seen. He had no 
other thought or desire or purpose but of doing the 
work to which he was called; and any reflection 
upon the Church seemed to him an outrage against 
his Master and the Head of the Church, which it was 
his duty to repel and denounce. I never observed 
in him any resentment or feeling of anger for any 
injurious charge or allegation concerning himself, 
though at times he experienced undeserved con- 
tumely and reproach. He felt the sting of such 
treatment, but seemed absolutely without the least 
feeling of resentment, or the most distant approach 
to any inclination to anger. But let any man speak 
reproachfully of the Church or of its ways, and the 
lightning was hardly more instantaneous and over- 
whelming than his indignant retort. I knew him 
- intimatety, and I never knew a man more free from 
I ill will towards all men or towards any man. And 
yet the violence of his language, in repelling any 
attack or reproach directed against the Church, its 
teaching, or its institutions, was beyond anything of 
the kind I have ever known in other men; and I 
more than once reproved him and endeavored to 
mitigate his strong feeling. 

But I am anticipating. At the time of his ministry 
ill Polk and the adjacent counties, I think he had not 
developed into so ardent a controversialist, but was 
mostly engaged in fighting the wickedness, ignor- 
ance, and indifference which he found all about him, 
with an occasional diversion on the subject of im- 
mersion and infant baptism. 

It was in 1883 that he first attended a Diocesan 


Convention in North Carolina. That convention met 
in St. Peter's Church, Charlotte, of which I was then 
rector, and it was there I first met him. The Sunday 
after adjournment, the bishop held an ordination in 
the church and asked that the offerings should be 
given towards the church building which Mr. Jones 
had begun at Tryon. The offering amounted to one 
hundred dollars, and Bishop Lyman asked me to 
carry it to Mr. Jones, instead of sending it ; and said 
he hoped I would spend a day or two with him and 
acquaint myself with his work. 

I shall never forget the day spent in riding in his 
company along the valleys and up and down the 
steep bridle-paths of Polk County, visiting his peo- 
ple and talking with them and with him. He was 
everywhere received with the most unstudied but 
unmistakable manifestations of friendly confidence 
and affection. Whether it was a company of men 
working the county road, or a mother and her little 
ones in a lonely log cabin on the mountain-side, or a 
father with his family of stalwart sons just in from 
the field to eat their midday meal — all equally wel- 
comed him, and put aside for the moment their press- 
ing employments for a word and a smile. And his 
word, first or last, had always a lesson or an exhor- 
tation or an earnest inquiry in the line of his great* 
work; and it was always received and answered in 
a way to show that they were accustomed to it from 
him, and were not wholly unresponsive ; or it may 
be that his word was a solemn and weighty reproof 
or warning or rebuke ; and then he was always plain 
and emphatic, and not to be misunderstood. Tn fact, 
in one such case his reproof included such "damna- 
tory clauses" that after leaving the house I ven- 
tured a gentle remonstrance, and was assured in 
reply that he understood what he was about, and 
that I did not. And then he proceeded to unfold 
the situation with such illustrations of my ignorance 


and of his better knowledge, that I ventured upon 
no further remonstrances. 

On this ride I saw for the first time the beautiful 
yellow azalea of our mountains, coming suddenly 
upon a specimen some ten or twelve feet high, in the 
full glow of its blazing yellow splendor, and for an 
instant thinking that I saw Moses' burning bush 

All during the day, as we rode along, I noticed 
that every little while he would take from his pocket 
a dilapidated little book, open it at random, seem- 
ingly, read a few lines, and return it to his pocket. 
After a while, I ventured to ask him what it was he 
was reading. He handed it to me, saying that he 
valued it above every other possession, as it had 
been for many years carried and used by his father. 
I do not remember the title of the book, but Dr. 
DuBose, of Sewanee, remembers that when a student 

) in the theological department Milnor Jones had a 
book of this kind, which he carried and used con- 
stantly, called ''The Blood That Cleanses." My 
recollection is that it was a collection of Scripture 
texts, arranged topically, under appropriate head- 

( ings, as Faith, Repentance, Love, Hope, and the like. 
It was very much worn, the corners all rounded off, 
so that it was almost of an oval form, and the bind- 
ing at the back entirely gone. It was an hour or 
two after dark before we returned to Dr. Cureton's 
house in Tryon, where we were to spend the night. 

V Yet, after it had for some time been too dark to dis- 
tinguish a letter, I observed him take the little book 
from his pocket at intervals, as he had done all dur- 
ing the day, open it, and seem to read for a moment, 
and then put it up. This often came to my mind in 
after days. Though eminently intelligent and strong- 
minded, there was always something about him 
which I did not understand; and in his latter years 
he somehow lost all power of useful or continuous 



mental exertion. Some thought this the result of 
the accident in his early manhood, which has been 
mentioned, and that injury may have had some per- 
manent effect, becoming' more marked as his age ad- 
vanced. But it is to be remembered that there were 
several cases of mental weakness and disorder in his 
immediate family connection. Doubtless these things 
must be taken into consideration when we remem- 
ber his extravagance of language and other unusual 
manifestations in his character and work. He could 
not be colorless or commonplace in word or in con- 

It is difficult to estimate the extent of his work or 
the number of his appointments. His reports, printed 
in the Convention Journals, are meager and without 
details. In 1883, in his first report in the Diocese of 
North Carolina, he names nine places where he had 
''regular appointments," and the list omits any men- 
tion of Columbus, though he says that he had leased 
the court-house there and was carrying on a day- 
school in it, with two teachers. He reports : Bap- 
tisms — ^infant 112, adult 41, of whom several were 
over seventy years of age, and one more than a hun- 
dred. There had been 16 confirmations, 4 Sunday- 
schools, with 12 teachers and 100 children ; a log 
church had been built at the ''Cross Roads." His 
regular preaching stations were: Tryon, Mills' 
Spring, The Cross Roads, Huggins' School-House, 
Riverside, Green River Cove, The Ridge, Weston's 
Sawmill, and Brudgman's School-House. He had 
preached occasionally at other places "tedious to 
enumerate," including "The Block-House Distil- 
lery" and the "summit of Tryon Mountain." These 
names seem to indicate that he had already begun 
to overflow into Rutherford and Henderson. In 
1884 he reports : Baptisms — infant 148, adult 52 ; 
confirmations 33. This year several names of places 
drop out and new ones appear. He seems to have 



abandoned Tryon, haying finished the church and 
made things ready for more regular ministrations, 
and we now find Re vis's School-House, Lyda's, Bat 
Cave, Aikens, etc., with one church and one chapel. 

In 1885 he adds "Whitesides, Seagles, etc., etc.," 
with baptists — infant 39, adult 18 ; confirmations 67 ; 
"entered the Church from the sects, 42." He men- 
tioned that there is now a clergyman at Tryon. 

His incessant labors, habitual hardships and dis- 
comforts, not to be understood except by one ac- 
quainted with the life in our mountains at that time, 
together with his own utter recklessness of all con- 
siderations of personal ease, comfort or welfare, had 
begun to tell very seriously upon his health, and it 
may be said that from this time he was never a 
really sound man again.* 

In 1886 he says that his "health is not yet re- 
stored." He reports: Baptisms — infant 21, adult 
10; confirmations 27; "a log church for the colored 
people has been built near Tryon." 

In 1887 he reports: "My health has been such 
that I have performed any duties with difficulty." 
Baptisms — infant 10, adult 5 ; confirmations 15. 

In 1888 others have succeeded him in most of his 
former missions, and he adds new names — Blue 
House Church, Gilreath's, Thompson School-House. 
Baptisms — infant 39, adult 9 ; confirmations 22. 

In 1889: Baptisms — infant 14, adult 10. "Log 
church erected at Arlege's, and church begun at 

In 1890 there is a new name — St. Paul's — proba- 
bly a church of that name at one of the points for- 
merly occupied. Baptisms — infant 24, adult 4; con- 

* During this period a serious affection of the bladder, caused by cold 
and exposure, and the impossibility' of securing medical attention when 
most needed, coupled with the unskillfulness of an inexperienced jsracti- 
tioner, who endeavored to treat him, produced physical results from 
which he never after recovered, and which occasioned at times gres ; 
inconvenience and intense suffering. 


firmations 14. Public services — on Sundays 125, 
other days 75. 

His name disappears from the Diocesan Journals 
after 1890. Bishop Lyman, in his address to the 
Convention of 1892, says he had given him letters 
dimissory to Oregon. 

Meager as these reports are, they indicate a life 
of extraordinary activity, devotion, and efl'oiency. 
It is safe to say that no clergyman of the Church has 
ever made such an impression upon the people of 
those counties, or ever brought such numbers of 
them into the Church. It is now nearly thirty years 
since he left that field, and his memory is still cher- 
ished among many of the old men and women who 
knew him. As Mr. Charles Pearson, of Tryon, one 
of the most intelligent and highly esteemed citizens 
of Polk County, said to me in 1894: "Mr. Jones 
changed the lives of a great many persons in Polk 

In 1898, walking in the neighborhood of Flat 
Rock, in Henderson County, with the Rev. Robert 
M. W.^ Black, and speaking of the work of Milnor 
Jones in that section, we saw a country woman 
washing at a spring. I said to Mr. Black: "You 
may think I overestimate the impression made by 
Mr. Jones on the plain people of the country. I will 
mention his name to that woman, and let her reply, 
approve or discredit my account. ' ' Approaching the 
woman, we entered into conversation with her. 
Presently, I said to her: "Did you ever hear of an 
Episcopal minister in this country by the name of 
Milnor Jones?" She looked up from her work with 
a bright expression of interest, and replied: "Oh, 
yes, sir ; I knew him well. He baptized all my broth- 
ers. Can you tell me where he is?" 

I do not remember whether it was from Mr. Jones 
himself or from the Rev. William B. Barrow, that T 
received the following account of his first acquaint- 



ance with the Seagle family in Henderson County, 
who became loyal Churchmen and his faitliful and 
helpful friends. Mr. Philip C. Seag'le, a brave Con- 
federate soldier, who had lost a leg in the war, had 
removed to Henderson County from the country 
about the Catawba. He was of German descent and 

, had been brought up a Lutheran, with a good Lu- 
theran's reverence for the sacraments, and dislike 
of revival methods and emotional extravagance. In 
Henderson County he had found no Lutherans, and 
with his family had held aloof from the neighboring 
Baptists and Methodists. On this account, his neigh- 
bors considered the Seagles as little better than un- 
believers, and Mr. Jones was told that they were a 
family of infidels, or "in-fiddles," as his rustic in- 
formant pronounced the word. He proceeded at once 
to encounter this stronghold of irreligion, and was 
much surprised to find in Mr. Seagle a man of strong 
character and of earnest religious convictions. He 
was warmly welcomed by all the family, and found 
a ready response to his appeals, and a soil prepared 
for his sowing. Mr. Seagle was glad of an oppor- 

_ tunity of Christian fellowship and worship upon 
I terms which appealed to his mind and conscience, 
and gave their due place and importance to the sac- 
raments. The whole family came into the Church, 
and there sprang up an affectionate relationship be- 
tween them which ended only with his death. There 
were six sons and two daughters in the Seagle fam- 
ily. Upon leaving them to go on to other parts of 
his field, Mr. Jones said to Mr. Seagle: "Here you 
have six fine boys. I cannot help feeling that you 
owe one of them to the Lord for the work of the 
ministry. I am going away now, but I will come 
back and visit you again by such a date. Now, jon 
and the boys think this matter over, and talk it over 
among yourselves, and ask God's guidance, so that 
when I return you may tell me which of these hoys 


God wants for His work in the ministry." In due 
course of time he came again, and asked the father 
and the boys if they had remembered what he had 
said to them, and if they were prepared to give him 
an answer. Mr. Seagle replied that he and the boys 
had talked it over and had looked for God's guid- 
ance, and had come to a decision. "Here is Na- 
than," he said. "He is the oldest. He has had more 
schooling than the others. He has a first-grade cer- 
tificate as a teacher in the public schools. And 
Nathan says that he is willing to give himself to the 
ministry if he is thought to be worthy." So Mr. 
Jones sent Nathan over to Asheville, to study under 
the Rev. Dr. Buel until he was prepared to enter the 
General Theological Seminary. The Rev. Nathan A. 
Seagle is now the rector of an important parish in 
New York City. Later, a younger brother, John, 
also entered the ministry. And with Nathan Seagle 
Mr. Jones sent another Henderson County boy to 
Dr. Buel — George Y. Gilreath, who also went to the 
General Seminary, and was ordained to the ministry. 

The late Dr. John D. McCullough, of Walhalla, 
S. C, Milnor Jones's old rector at Glenn Springs, 
spending the summer at Saluda, near Tryon, and 
hearing of his work in the country among the poor- 
est and most ignorant of the people, had a desire to 
observe his method of interesting them. He went, 
therefore, to a country school-house, where he heard 
Mr. Jones was to preach, and before the congrega- 
tion began to assemble, took a seat in the most ob- 
scure corner. Soon after dusk, the house had pretty 
well filled up with people from the neighborhood, 
and Mr. Jones came in. He wore a long sack coat. 
From one pocket he took a candle, which he lighted 
and fixed upon the end of a projecting log in the 
wall; from another pocket he took out his Bible and 
began his simple service of reading and prayer be- 
fore he preached. No man set a higher value upon 



the Prayer Book than Milnor Jones, and in all my 
experience I have known no man who had more 
widely distributed Prayer Books among the people 
than he had. Indeed, I believe I have known no 
man who had distributed one-half so many as he 
had. But there was a reality about his purpose of 
getting at the hearts and consciences of his hearers 
which saved him from the folly of making the Prayer 
Book a hindrance where he knew it could not be a 

It must have appeared, from what has so far been 
said, that, though a man of extraordinary effective- 
ness within his sphere, his sphere was distinctly a 
very limited one. In a few years he would for the 
time exhaust his physical strength by his unremit- 
ting labors, and in a somewhat similar way he would 
exhaust his spiritual and intellectual resources. "He 
came to the end of his rope," to use a common 
phrase. And he was not unconscious of this him- 
self. He had baptized nearly six hundred persons, 
old and young, during his ministry in this section, 
and had presented nearly two hundred for confirma- 
tion. He had built several churches, and had laid 
wider foundations than his successors have yet been 
able to build upon; but he was much broken in 
health and had become afflicted with a painful and 
distressing physical infirmity. He went from North 
Carolina to Oregon in 1891, and I saw and heard 
nothing more of him for several years. 


In North Carolina Again: Watauga, Mitchell, and 
Ashe Counties. 

Ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey, Wales (West Front) . 

When upon the death of Bishop Lyman, Decem- 
ber 13, 1893, I became Bishop of the Diocese, one of 
my first thoughts was to endeavor to restore the old 
Mission of Valle Crucis; to regain the site hallowed 


by so many pious and noble associations ; and to 
revive along the Wataugu River the old interest in 
the work and worship of the Church. It seemed to 
me that Milnor Jones was the man who could do 
this. He was then in distant Oregon — I knew not 
exactly where. By January, 1894, I had learned his 
post-office address, and I at once wrote and asked if 
he would not come back to this diocese. I was much 
gratified by his reply. He wrote: "When I read in 
the papers that you had been elected Bishop, my 
heart turned back to North Carolina." Unfortu- 
nately, however, he had, only the day before the 
receipt of my letter, accepted an offer made by 
Bishop Gailor, and had promised to go to Harriman, 
Tennessee. In August, 1894, having obtained Bishop 
Gailor 's generous consent, I wrote to him at Harri- 
man, saying that Bishop Gailor had no objection to 
his coming to me, if he desired to do so. His reply 
was, in substance, and so far as I can remember, in 
these words: "Where do you want me to go? What 
do you w4sh me to do? And what salary will you 
give ? ^iot that the amount of the salary makes any 
difference ; I only wish to know just what I have to 
go on." I replied as explicitly: "I want you to go 
to Valle Crucis, on the Watauga River. I want you 
to revive the old Valle Crucis Mission, as your spe- 
cial work; and I give you for your field of opera- 
tions Watauga, Mitchell, and Ashe Counties, to do 
what you can in them. I will give you six hundred 
dollars a year, payable monthly." Within a couple 
of weeks he was on the Watauga, had fitted himself 
out with a horse, saddle, bridle, and saddle-bags, and 
had begun his campaign, leaving his wife and chil- 
dren to follow at their convenience. A little later 
he established them at Elk Park, on the northern 
border of Mitchell County, practically midway be- 
tween the two extremes of his work. Beaver Creek 
and N^ew River, in Ashe County, on the north, and 



Bakersville, the county town of Mitchell County, on 
the south. His own headquarters he established at 
Valle Crucis, on the Watauga River, having a room 
for his few possessions at the house of Sheriff David 
Beard, but spending- his time where his work called 

Valle Crucis proper, the site of the old mission so 
named by Bishop Ives, is about a mile distant from 
the Watauga River, on Dutch Creek. The beautiful 
valley of this stream is at nearly the same point 
entered by two smaller valleys, at right angles to 
the course of Dutch Creek, Crab Orchard Creek 
coming in from the north, and Clark's Creek from 
the south, thus forming the cross valley of beautiful 
green meadows and cornfields, which doubtless sug- 
gested to Bishop Ives the name, Valle Crucis. The 
old Welsh Abbey of Valle Crucis, from which he 
took the name, has, however, no such topographical 
situation, so far as I could see when I visited it a 
few years ago. When Milnor Jones undertook to 
revive the old Valle Crucis Mission, only one or two 
of the old buildings remained, and they were owned 
and occupied for residence and farming purposes. 



Old building of Bishop Ives's time. 

Only one communicant of the church, so far as I 
remember, remained in that part of the county, 
James Thomas, who lived some four or five miles 
down the river, near St. John's Church. Over at 
Boone, the county town of Watauga, there was a 
small church, but the family of Dr. William B. 
Council were the only representatives of the church 
in the place. On the southeastern border of the 
county, Blowing Rock had recently become quite a 
village of summer visitors, and those who ministered 
to the necessities and convenience of the summer 
visitors. A church had been built there, and a small 
congregation had been formed, but that meant little 
or nothing for any church work or influence among 
the people of the country. Regular services were 
not maintained in an}^ one of these three churches, 
and there had not been a resident minister of the 
Church in Watauga County since the death of the 
Rev. William West Skiles in 1862. Blowing Rock 



and Boone may be left out of the account in consid- 
ering Milnor Jones and his work. He had a few 
services at each place, but really devoted no time or 
attention to them. He had his ow^n ideas of what he 
wanted to do, and with a man of his peculiar charac- 
ter it is best to let him "have his head." 

He had now a field of work which exactly suited 
his peculiar qualities. From one end to the other of 
the three counties, in a northeasterly and south- 
westerly course, the distance is something like 
seventy or eighty miles, with only the ordinary 
mountain roads connecting his distant stations. He 
had not a single church or chapel for his services, 
St. John's Church on the Watauga, and St. Luke's 
at Boone, being both outside the scheme of work he 
had laid out for himself, although he had periodical 
services in both for the people of the neighborliood. 
His special work was to revive Valle Crucis as a cen- 
ter of church work and influence. He felt that he . 
should concentrate on that point, and neither St. 
John's nor St. Luke's seemed to afford any favor- 
able prospect of growth. He, therefore, preached 
from house to house, and appointed Sunday and 
week-day meetings at all places of public gathering, 
school-houses, mills, country stores, and at "free 
churches." He made friends of all who would re- 
ceive him in a friendly spirit, and he and his big bay 
horse, John, soon became familiar acquaintances 
throughout the three counties. He had a wonderful 
talent for friendship, and for knowing everybody. 
He never seemed at all disposed to gossip. His com- 
mon talk seldom strayed far or long from religious 
subjects, and as a rule, unless he had some definite 
purpose requiring a different course, he was most 
discreet and tactful in social intercourse. But among 
uneducated people, and in thinly settled sections, 
personal happenings and experiences, and family 
histories, form a large part of the day 's talk. He 



liad a wonderful faculty for remembering what he 
heard, and for knowing" everything about every- 
body; and he seemed to be able to lay the hand of 
his influence upon whole sections of the community, 
upon this and that family connection, and to attach 
them to him, and to the Church, with a loyalty which 
is most unusual. He could somehow stimulate and 
impress the popular imagination, and represent the 
Church to the popular mind in a way which, while 
often deeply offending those whom he did not con- 
vince, at the same time drew with ardent attach- 
ment the minds and hearts of many. I have never 
known any man who had sucli success as he had in 
making loyal and ardent Churchmen of uneducated 
persons wholly unfamiliar with our teaching or 
methods of worship. This was wonderfully illus- 
trated by his first year's work in AVatauga and 
Hotchell Counties. 

In April, 1895, he wrote that he desired to have a 
visitation from me to his Valle Crucis work, and also 
to Bakersville, as early in the summer as would be 
convenient for me, as he had a number of candidates 
for Confirmation in both missions. To the Conven- 
tion of May, 1895, he reported: Baptisms — infant 19, 
adult 4. He reports two Confirmations, but they had 
been performed before he had entered the field. He 
reports services at "Valle Crucis, Boone, Blowing 
Rock, Dutch Creek, Clark's Creek, Grandfather 
Mountain, Banner's Elk, Elk Park, Yellow Moun- 
tain, Bakersville, Phillip's School-House, Dresden, 
Willow Grove, Sutherland, and other places." 

June 18th, I proceeded to Blowing Rock, where 
Mr. Jones met me. I think I can not better describe 
his work than by giving an account of my first visi- 
tation to his scattered missions. His own horse, with 
another which he had hired, were hitched to a strong 
buggy, and in it we made the trip from Blowing 
Rock. His baggage, including his surplice, was all 



contained in a pair of saddle-bags. A suit-case and 
small handbag- held all that I could take. We had 
service in the church at Blowing Rock, Wednesday, 
June 19th. The next day we drove over to Boone, 
and had service Thursday night in St. Luke's 
Church. These were merely preliminary skirmishes. 
The real campaign was yet to begin. 

Friday morning, June 21st, we drove from Dr. 
Councill's, in Boone, to "Bill Holler's Mill," on Lau- 
rel Fork of Watauga River, three or four miles 
above Valle Crucis. This had been one of Mr. 



Jones's regular stations, and here we found a large 
congregation awaiting us. Many of the people could 
not read well enough to take part in a Prayer Book 
service, and we had few books. We had a short ser- 
vice, with hymns, reading the Bible, the Creed, and 
prayers; then a sermon and Confirmation. The 
miller and his wife, several of their children, and a 
number of their neighbors, fourteen in all, including 
four married couples, kneeling on the ground — the 
service, of course, had to be out-of-doors — received 
the Laying on of Hands. After the service, the hos- 
pitable miller asked us all to dine with him, and a 
large number accepted his generous invitation. He 
was a poor man, with only his grist-mill and a little 
mountain farm, but he gave us bread and potatoes, 
and butter and milk, and then rhubarb pie sweet- 
ened with honey, and the wiiole seasoned with his 
fine, generous welcome. 

At 4 o'clock in the afternoon we went down Lau- 
rel Fork to the Watauga, crossed the river, and 
climbed the mountain- side to the cabin of Harrison 
Mitchell, whose wife was unwell, and his mother 
eighty-three years of age, so that neither of them 
could get out. There I had a short service, preached 
them a short sermon, and confirmed the man and his 
wife, a grown son, and the aged grandmother, many 
of their neighbors forming the congregation. 

Mr. Jones, more merciful to his Bishop than a^^e 
some of his brethren, had left Saturday without an 
appointment, and kindly said that I might go fishing 
for small-mouth black bass in the Watauga — and I 
suppose I did so. He had himself no taste for idling. 



June 23rd, the Second 
Sunday after Trinity, Ave had 

service in St. John's Church, 
on the Watauga River, four 
miles below Valle Crucis. I 
confirmed an old woman, 
preached, and administered 
the Holy Communion. At 
half -past four o'clock, in a 
ruinous old house on Dutch 
Creek, near Yalle Crucis, I 
preached and confirmed three 
persons. Our vestry room 
was a circular space in a 
dense growth of beautiful 
rhododendron, upon which 
lingered a fcAV of their splen- 
did purple blossoms. 

Monday, June 24th, St. 
John Baptist's Day, under 
the trees near the house of 

.jacK xxiiioii, 

Andrew Jackson Townsend, the Bishop's fisherman friend. 

on Clark's Creek, one or two 

miles aboA^e Yalle Crucis, Mr. Jones baptized three 
children and a half-groAvn boy. I preached and con- 
firmed seven persons, and made an extended ad- 
dress on Baptism and Confirmation. 

June 25th, Ave droA^e on fifteen miles to Elk Park, 
and had serA^ce and preached at night in the Pres- 
byterian Church. 

June 26th, Ave drove from Elk Park to Bakers- 
A^lle, some thirty miles by the road Ave had to travel, 
and Avere entertained by Mr. Thomas A. LoA^e, one 
of the tAvo Churchmen AAdiom Mr. Jones had found 
in BakersAalle. At Mr. LoA^e's Avere seA^eral large 
boxes AAdiich had been hauled oA^er the mountains 
from Marion on the railroad. They had come from 
NeAv York and Avere directed to the Rca'. Milnor 


Jones, at Mr. Love's, in Bakersville. Upon asking 
about them, Mr. Jones informed me that they were 
Bibles, Hymnals, and Prayer Books, mostly the last, 
which he had sent down for distribution among the 
people. ''Why!" I exclaimed, "here are two or 
three times as many Prayer Books as you can give 
away." "No," said he; "I could give away many 
more, to people who will be glad to have them." 

Thursday we spent with Mr. Love, and in seeing 
such people as came in to see us. Thursday night, 
in the court-house, Mr. Jones said Evening Prayer, 
and, with help of our numerous Prayer Books, we 
had a fairly good service. 

I preached on Conversion (St. Mathew 13:14,15) 

^ and confirmed the wife of our host, and two other 
persons. There were a number of other candidates, 
but we preferred to have them come the next night. 
And, never having witnessed the service before, they 
also preferred not to come forward at its first ad- 
ministration. Thursday, many persons came to Mr. 
Love's house to see us, mostly people from the 
country, and I was surprised to find how eager they 
were to receive the copies of the Prayer Book we 

i gave them. Fi-iday night we had Evening Prayer 
again in the court-house. I preached — without a 
text — on "The Church," and confirmed nine per- 
sons, some of whom were among the most promi- 
nent men in the town and vicinity. Saturday, we 
visited the county jail and talked with the prisoners. 
Many country people came to see us. In the even- 
ing Mr. Jones preached in the country, a mile or so 
from town. 

June 30th, the Third Sunday after Trinity, in the 

court-house, Mr. Jones said the Litany. I preached 
and administered the Holy Communion. By this 
time our services had attracted such attention that 
many people came in from the country, and the 
court-house was j)acked, all the seats filled, and the 


open spaces crowded with men standing, as is some- 
times seen during the trial of a sensational capital 
case in court. At night it was the same. After 
preaching, I confirmed one person. 

As I had an appointment for Tuesday, July 2nd, 
at a distant point, Mr. Jones and I left Bakersville 
early Monday morning. As we drove through the 
principal street we heard some one calling. Look- 
ing back, we saw the mayor of the town coming out 
into the street and signaling us to stop. He was a 
lawyer of prominence, one of the leading Republican 
politicians of that district, and father-in-law of one 
of the United States Senators from North Carolina. 
When he came up he said he had come out to beg 
that we would come back to Bakersville as soon as 
possible, because he was anxious to be confirmed. 
He said that he had attended the services the day 
before, and had been so much impressed that he had 
determined to become a member of the Church, and 
had been strongly moved to come forward the night 
before and ask me to confirm him then and there, 
but he did not know whether I would feel that I 
could do so, and he had therefore concluded to wait 
and to ask me to return at an early day. 

I fear that Mr. Jones and I felt a little complais- 
ant and self-satisfied as we drove out of Bakersville 
early on that first day of July. We had that morn- 
ing baptized an adult, and had her and her husband 
as candidates, making three against my next visit. 
Our road lay just west of the summit of the Blue 
Ridge, first in Mitchell County and along the North 
Toe River, then into Yancey County, and across the 
beautiful South Toe and through the little town of 
Burnsville, and so into Buncombe. The road, though 
steep and rocky in places, was dry and on the whole 
good. Our horses, having stood in their stalls since 
the preceding Wednesday, were fresh and mettle- 
some. The day was fair, the sun bright, but not 




burninof. Among* those high mountains the air was 
delightful even at midday in July. We greatly en- 
joyed our ride, and felt that we were indeed doing 
well. It was the old case of — 

"Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows"; 

and we all unmindful that behind us at Bakersville 
something like "the whirlwind" was preparing for 
us, while a more tangible peril lay across our path 
in front. 

We passed that night at a farm-house in Yancey 
County, and the next morning resumed our journey. 
Heavy clouds, which during the morning were gath- 
ering along the tops of the mountain, began to over- 
spread the sky, and about noon we had quite a 
heavy fall of rain. Though it poured in torrents for 
a while, yet, after the manner of summer storms in 
the mountains, it was soon over, and the sun was 
again shining brightly, and the masses of broken 
clouds were rolling away and melting in the clear 
air. The landscape seemed only fresher and more 
beautiful for its bath. But as we drew near the 
little village of Democrat, in Buncombe County, we 
saw, by the condition of the roads, and by the quan- 
tity of water filling all depressions and pouring 
along all roadside drains, that there must have been 
a much heavier rainfall than we had experienced a 
few miles back ; and as we passed through the vil- 
lage and so on to the crossing of the Big. Ivy, a 
mountain stream flowing into the French Broad 
River not very far above the town of Marshall, 
which was our destination, that there I might take 
the train for the Hot Springs, we met several vehi- 
cles which had evidently just forded the stream, and 
which showed the mark of their crossing high upon 
their sides and wheels. So, as they had crossed, we 
felt no hesitation in attempting the ford ourselves. 
The stream was much out of its banks and running 
with a fierce and turbid current. But we drove in, 



without a pause, having a good, strong' buggy and a 
pair of horses quite above the average height and 
weight. Indeed, Mr. Jones's horse, familiarly known 
all over his circuit as "Old John," stood at least 
three or four hands above the ordinary animal of 
the country. And it was well we had so heavy, high, 
and staunch a team. When we struck the mid-bed 
of the stream, the water suddenly rose from the foot 
of the buggy up to the seats, and before we realized 
it we were sitting several inches deep in water, and 
the tremendous force of the swollen torrent, strik- 
ing against the side of the buggy and catching upon 
the curtains of the top, which we had not lowered, 
threatened every moment to overturn the veliicle, in 
which case we should probably have been caught 
under the open top, and if so caught, would almosi 
inevitably have been drowned. I at once called to 
Mr. Jones to turn around and drive back out of the 
stream. But he knew better. I used to say that he 
was afraid of nothing but high water. He had once 
or twice been in imminent danger of drowning, and 
he made no secret of this fear. But in this only 
instance of such danger which I ever witnessed he 
was admirably self-possessed. When I called out to 
him to turn back, "No," he said; "if I attempt to 
turn around in the tremendous torrent, the buggy 
will certainly be overset by the force of the water 
and the horses probably thrown down. We must go 
down the stream." With that he deliberately put 
the heads of the horses down-stream and began to 
drive down mid-stream, with the water coming over 
our knees and almost to our waists, as we sat. But 
this at once took the terrible strain off our team, and 
the water bore the buggy downward, but with no 
danger of overturning it. The . weight and height 
of the horses enabled them to keep their footing, 
and the moment we were thus steadied and relieved 
of the imminent danger of being overset, Mr. Jones 


turned their Jieads slightly towards the shore, not 
greatly altering our course and still keeping the 
force of the current behind us pressing us forward; 
and so in a very few moments, and within less than 
a hundred yards distance, w^e came gradually into 
shallower water, and drove out safe upon the fur- 
ther side. From the point where we emerged we 
could see some distance down the stream, and we 
observed that the banks were much wider and the 
channel therefore shallower. We also saw by the 
tracks of wheels and horses on both sides that it 
was at this point that those persons had crossed 
whom we had met just before we drove into the 

When the buggy made its first plunge into deep 
water and we found the water rising up towards the 
seat, Mr. Jones had called to me to look out for his 
saddle-bags, which were in the hinder part of the 
buggy. I turned at once and reached for them, but 
just as I reached, the current, sweeping into the 
back of the buggy, whirled them away before I 
could lay hands on them, and the last we ever saw 
of them they were going, bobbing and dancing, 
down the middle of the stream. Fortunately for me, 
my suit-case was firmly wedged under the seat of 
the buggy, and my smaller bag was in front, be- 
tween our feet, so that they were not carried away. 
though their contents were thoroughly soaked with 
water. But we were thankful to have escaped so 
well ; and Milnor J ones always claimed for his horse, 
John, the whole credit of our safet.y. It was John's 
bulk and height, he always asserted, which kept the 
other horse steady. For my part, I felt sure that by 
the goodness of God we owed our escape to his own 
coolness, courage, and sound judgment. It took a 
cool head and a brave heart to turn the heads of his 
team down the middle of that fierce torrent. It was 
in medio tutissimus, in a new sense. 


About an hour after this adventure, he drove me 
into the little town of Marshall, where I took the 
train for my next appointment, and he, minus his 
saddle-bags containing his scanty supplies and also 
containing his one surplice, turned back upon his 
long and solitary drive to join his family for a day 
or so at their home in Elk Park, and then to resume 
his work along the Watauga and in our new enter- 
prise at Bakersville. 



In the meanwhile trouble was brewing in Bakers- 
ville. Bakersville and Mitchell County had at that 
period the reputation of being among the most 
lawless and violent sections of the Southern moun- 
tains. Though there were many homicides in the 
county, it was all but impossible to bring a mur- 
derer, or other greatly criminal person, to justice. 
I was told by a very intelligent citizen of the place 
that for a number of years the only execution for 
crime which had taken place in the county had been 
a lynching". I do not know whether that was liter- 
ally true, but it very fairly expressed the state of 
the case. 

Among the ignorant people of the mountains, as 
elsewhere, religious controversies are carried on with 
great violence and abusiveness of language. In 
Bakersville at this time there were three religious 
denominations with organizations and church build- 
ings. These were the Baptists, the Southern Metho- 
'! dists, and the Northern Methodists; so that their 
religious differences were aggravated by a strong 
; infusion of political prejudice and passion. Just be- 
fore our visit a bitter discussion between two of 
these local churches had been in progress. "We saw 
in the local paper some of the contributions to this 
controversy. But the services which we had held in 
the court-house seemed to be acceptable by both 
sides as a warning that they must close up their 
ranks and combine their forces against a common 

In his preaching Mr. Jones always asserted the 
Apostolic character of the Church, and the necessity 
of an Apostolic ministry and a valid Commission to 
the proper Constitution of the Church, and the certi- 


fication of the Sacraments. And he did not confine 
himself to abstractions, but spoke very forcibly, and 
probably with a power and a felicity of illustration 
which bettered the mountain preachers' best rhet- 
oric, on the defects in the teaching', institutions, and 
ministerial authority, of the Baptist and Methodist 
organizations. He had so distinctly and uncompro- 
misingly set forth the superior claims and advan- 
tages of the Church, and the importance to his hear- 
ers of coming out of their existing denominations, 
and into the true fold, that he was not only prohibited 
from using any of the local church buildings, but 
had even been refused permission to preach in the 
local school-house. We therefore had our services 
in the court-house. At these services I had done all 
the preaching myself; and while I set forth very 
plainly and strongly the teaching of the Church 
affirmatively and positively, I avoided, for the most 
part, any statement as to the deficiencies of other 
Christian organizations. I have always felt that, if 
we can get men to accept positive truth and duty, 
the negative side will be amply attended to. But 
Sunday night, at our last service, Mr. Jones made 
an address in his peculiar vein, and pretty strongly 
set out his opinion of the Baptist and the Methodist 
churches, though with no more offensiveness of lan- 
guage essentially than is common in their own con- 
troversial preaching in that section of the country. 
They had not really troubled themselves about Mr. 
Jones and his preaching before this time. They re- 
sented his attacks on their systems and their doc- 
trines, but they did not think him of much impor- 
tance. But our meetings in the court-house, the 
Confirmation of several of the prominent men of the 
town, with the attitude of others, moved their fears. 

The day we left Bakersville — the first Monday in 
July — was the day for the monthly meeting of the 
County Commissioners. Prominent Methodists and 



Baptists went before the board and procured the 
passage of an order that the court-house should not 
be used for religious services. The local newspaper, 
in chronicling the fact, stated that the reason they 
gave for this action was that "the Episcopalians had 
been preaching uncomfortable doctrine." Subse- 
quently, a communication, signed by a number of 
the most prominent citizens — ^Baptists and Metho- 
dists — denied this, and said that the order was made 
merely on account of the condition of the court- 
house, which was unsafe for large audiences. 

Having thus secured themselves against Mr. 
Jones's preaching, as they supposed, they proceeded 
to hold a joint meeting of Baptists and Methodists, 
both Northern and Southern, in which the Northern 
Methodist resident preacher was the speaker, he 
being the ablest and best educated of the local min- 
isters. The sermon was an elaborate and vigorous 
attack on the Church, all along the line of its his- 
tory, doctrines, and worship ; and it stirred up much 
enthusiasm on its own side, and was considered an 
effective reply to what had been advanced by the 
Bishop and his Deacon. In fact, the dominant fac- 
tions felt that they had effectually silenced their 
1 opponents, having shut them out of all places where 
they could preach, and also having, in their judg- 
ment, fully refuted their arguments. 

All this time Milnor Jones, thirty or forty miles 
across the mountains, was in ignorance of the course 
of events in Bakersville. Having an appointment 
there for Sunday, July 21st, he took the long and 
fatiguing horseback ride from Valle Crucis, by way 
of Elk Park, to Bakersville, not much short of fifty 
miles, although he had been quite sick for a week or 
so, and was still far from well. He reached Bakers- 
ville Friday night. Here he learned of the action of 
the county commissioners in closing. the court-house 
against him, and also of the tremendous rally of the 


Baptists and both sects of Methodists in a solidarity 
of opposition, and of the great sermon preached 
against the Church. Indeed, such a heat of opposi- 
tion had been aroused among the great majority of 
the inhabitants of the little town, even among the 
really irreligious and careless, who naturally sided 
with the majority, that our small beginning of a 
flock found themselves much cast down and discour- 
aged. They assured Mr. Jones that it was useless to 
attempt to preach, under the circumstances, and that 
they had better "lie low" until the excitement of 
public feeling had subsided. And then, after all, 
they said, he could not preach, because it was impos- 
sible to find any place, now that they were shut out 
of the court-house. Milnor Jones had not been able 
to "go slow" in South Carolina, and he did not 
know how to "lie low" in Bakersville. He was 
indignant at the suggestion that he could not preach, 
because he had been shut out of the churches, school- 
houses, and court-house. He felt that his acceptance 
of the situation, in such a way as that, would in this 
community be universally regarded as a virtual sur- 
render and confession of failure. To his friends, 
who stated that he could not preach, because he had 
no place for service, he replied indignantly that he 
would show them whether he could preach or not. 
Thereupon, on Saturday morning, taking counsel of 
no one, he went to the local printing office and had 
struck off at once a hundred or two hand-bills, with 
a notice that the Rev. Milnor Jones would preach 
next day, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, in front of 
the court-house in Bakersville, and inviting all per- 
sons to attend at that time and place. These hand- 
billsi he^ himself distributed in the town, and also to 
many persons from the country, who on Saturdays 
resort in large numbers to the county-seat. 

We may be sure that he did not lack a congrega- 
tion when the appointed hour had come. Friends 



and enemies were alike attracted by the novelty of 
the situation, and by their interest in, or dislike of, 
the preacher. All knew that whatever he might say, 
there was no danger of liis being uninteresting or 
tedious. And he proceeded to preach a sermon 
which was long remembered in Bakersville, with 
admiration and pride by his friends, but with senti- 
ments of bitter resentment by his unfriends. It 
should be remembered that, whatever his early asso- 
ciations and training, he had deliberately made him- 
self one with the plain people of the mountains, and 
had faithfully endeavored to enter into their ways 
and modes of thought and expression. The result 
was, that, with his natural force of intellect, and 
with his early advantages of training and education, 
he easily and perhaps unconsciously improved upon 
his model. He did not endeavor to be like the more 
or less cultivated preacher of the mountain town, 
where some of the refinements and amenities of so- 
cial intercourse were known and cultivated. He was 
the preacher from the mountains, and he spoke 
especially for the poorer and plainer people. He 
had assimilatecj himself to the type, and he made no 
- attempt to readjust himself to the higher average 
i taste or sentiment of a town congregation. 

He took for the subject of his sermon before the 
court-house in Bakersville, by the side of the Main 
Street of the town, the vision of the "Opening of 
the Seals," in the sixth chapter of the Book of the 
Revelation. He gave the interpretation of the 
vision which he had read, in the notes in Bishop 
Wordsworth's Greek Testament, on this chapter. 
The Rider on the White Horse was Christ, going 
forth conquering and to conquer. He on the Red 
Horse, to whom was given the great sword, repre- 
sented the effort of the Evil One to destroy Christ's 
Church by the bloody sword of the heathen perse- 
cutors, from Nero to Diocletian. The Rider on the 


Black Horse, having the pair of balances in his 
hand, represented the cunning devices of the Evil 
One, after the failure of the persecutors, in raising 
up heresies within the Church, and specially the 
Arian heresy; striving to measure and weigh and 
determine divine truth by the balances and measures 
of human reason. The Rider on the Pale Horse, 
with whom was Death, and Hell following after, 
called for more detailed treatment. He said the 
Avord "pale" did not quite express the meaning of 
the word used by St. John. It did not mean ' ' pale ' ' 
in our usual understanding of the Avord. It meant, 
rather, a bright and fair-seeming mingling of colors, 
attractive to the eye, but variable and evanescent; 
perhaps we might say a pied or party-colored horse, 
or a "calico horse," in our country phrase. This he 
interpreted as representing the efforts of the Evil 
One in these later ages to destroy God's Church by 
sects and schisms, divisions and opposing denomina- 
tions, which many times are pleasing and attractive 
to the worldly mind, and make a fair and deceitful 
show of being good, and for the advantage of Chris- 
tianity; but with them is Death to the real life and 
power of the Church, and Hell follows after. 

Up to this point the sermon was a lucid and strik- 
ing exposition of the Scripture passage, illustrated 
and applied with a simple force and eloquence, all. 
the more effective, with its freight of real knowledge 
and thought, for the homely and rugged manner of 
the sepaker. But he had now come to the pregnant 
passage of his exposition, and the objective point of 
his discourse. In his own mind he had gotten his 
Methodist and Baptist friends where he wanted 
them; he had identified the movement in Christen- 
dom which had produced them, as part of the effort 
of the Evil One to destroy the true nature and power 
of the Church ; and we need not doubt that he made 
the most of it. If he had stopped even here, his best 


results would have been attained in the minds of his 
own adherents, and perhaps his opponents mig'ht 
have felt that he had not exceeded the limits of con- 
troversy which may be permitted even before their 
town congregation. Unfortunately, he could not 
stop here. Up to this time he had not, I believe, been 
personally assailed with anything more than the 
ordinary weapons of sectarian controversy. He had 
no personal grievance, nor had I found evidence of 
any personal resentment in him towards any one in 
this place, or, indeed, in any place. He was aston- 
ishingly free from resentment, even when injuri- 
ously assailed. But the Methodists and Baptists had 
united to prevent the services of the Church in the 
town, and had been countenanced by those who were 
not even Methodists or Baptists, but men indifferent 
to Christian truth and duty. And there they were, 
sitting before him, with possibly a smile of satisfied 
triumph on their faces, because they had thus driven 
the Church into the street. He remembered, too, 
their joint meeting, their pooling" of denominational 
interests, and the combination of all resources 
.against the Church ; and he had heard of the sermon 
in which the Church had, as he considered, been will- 
fully misrepresented and abused. 

Bakersville had been by no means a model com- 
munity, and those most forward in opposing the 
Church were in some cases hardly entitled to set 
themselves up as regulators of Christian truth and 
practice. I have spoken of Milnor Jones's wonder- 
ful faculty of knowing everything about everybody 
in the communities in which he preached. In an ex- 
tended peroration, to his sermon in front of the 
court-house, he drew one after another delineations 
of personal character, without names, but amazingly 
true to the lives of some of his audience, and terribly 
true to the conscience of each man aimed at ; and he 
held them up to just scorn, as men not humbly and 


with self-condemnation seeking pardon for the past, 
and help to be better in the future, but setting them- 
selves up, in a vain, contident pretence of goodness, 
to oppose the Church of God. The whole assembly 
sat, half-dumb, with amazement at the audacity of 
this attack, or half-mad with anger at the pain of 
the blows, which was all the more excruciating be- 
cause they could not be parried or returned. I was 
told by one present that some of the persons alluded 
to literally trembled and paled before the speaker ; 
and in such a community, noted as it was for fierce 
and turbulent elements in the population, there was 
a prevalent feeling that the preacher stood in great 
danger of personal violence. 

The outline of the expositary part of the sermon I 
learned both from Mr. Jones himself and also from 
several of his most intelligent auditors. As to what 
followed the exposition, I had the substance of it 
from the preacher himself, and also a very extended 
account of its effect upon the audience from perhaps 
the ablest and most prominent man in the town, the 
then mayor. In speaking of it, he expressed the 
highest admiration for its ability and eloquence, but 
said it was in the last degree a perilous position into 
which the speaker had put himself, and that he had 
at the time the liveliest apprehension that he would 
be treated with personal violence. "I have seen 
this town in terrible moments of popular excitement 
and anger, but I thought I had never seen it nearer 
to an outbreak than after that sermon. I have heard 
great speeches," he continued, ''from some of the 
greatest orators in the country. I have heard Conk- 
lin, of New York, and James G. Blaine and others, 
but I never heard a more powerful and eloquent 
speech than that of Mr. Jones in front of the court- 

The excitement had by no means subsided the 
next morning, and Mr. Jones's friends were most 


uncomfortable on his account. He would by no 
means keep himself in the background, but, like 
St. Paul at Athens, his spirit was stirred w^ithin him, 
and he was in all public places, discussing and dis- 
puting with all that met with him, and giving them 
plainly to understand that, in his judgment, all their 
opposition to the Church proceeded from ignorance 
and prejudice. The local school teacher was much 
outraged at such a suggestion. He gave a beautiful 
illustration of the argumentum ad hominem re- 
versed, and felt that he had abundantly answered 
Mr. Jones, and refuted his statement, by his naive 
question, ''Am I ignorant?" 

The next day Mr. Jones had to leave Bakersville 
and return to his duties in Watauga County. 

I had promised to return to Bakersville at my ear- 
liest opportunity. I therefore arranged my visita- 
tions so as to be back in that section a little before 
the middle of August. The thirteenth of that month 
I reached Marion from the west, and found Mr. 
Jones awaiting me. Late in the afternoon as it was, 
we drove six miles on the road to Bakersville, and 
spent the night with a farmer by the roadside. I 
had heard some rumors of the exciting scenes which 
had occurred at Bakersville since my first visit, and 
Mr. Jones now gave me an account of the situation. 
His sermon in the street had made the action of the 
County Commissioners widely known. A number of 
the leading citizens of the place, smarting under the 
remembrance of that sermon, addressed a long com- 
munication to the News and Observer, Raleigh, ac- 
cusing Mr. Jones of the greatest indecency and vio- 
lence in his whole manner of speaking and preach- 
ing, and at great length holding him up to reproba- 
tion and contempt. He had, they said, asserted that 
the "Baptist and Methodist churches were only de- 
bating societies and social clubs"; "that their faith 


was not sufficiently efficacious to save a soul; and if 
one of them should be saved at all it would be by 
virtue of what little Episcopal doctrine he had in his 
church," etc., etc., with examples of the most offen- 
sive and abusive language, which they asserted that 
he had used; and saying that he had "preached ser- 
mons in fits of anger and rages of passion," and so 
on. This communication had appended to it the 
names of a dozen or more persons, some of them 
prominent citizens of Bakersville. Immediately be- 
low this, in the paper, was a card, signed by Mr. 
Thomas A. Love, a member of our Bakersville con- 
gregation, and a prominent lawyer of that section, 
saying of the above mentioned communication that 
"the article is both false and malicious." So greatly 
in controversies will men differ. Before seeing the 
article, Mr. Jones had heard of it, and of its allega- 
tions that he had said that a Baptist or a Methodist 
could not be saved, except by believing "Episcopal 
doctrine." He thereupon sent a communication to 
the same paper, denying the allegation, but adding: 
' ' I did not say that. But I did say that if a Methodist 
or Baptist, or a member of any other modern denom- 
ination, is saved, it will not be by virtue of any of 
the peculiar doctrines of their own, for which they 
came out of the Church, but by reason of the origi- 
nal faith which the Church had before they left it, 
and which it as still. This I said, and this I am pre- 
pared to maintain on any stump in the United States 
or Canada!" This was the substance of Mr. Jones's 
card. I have mislaid the newspaper clipping con- 
taining his exact words. 

Late in the afternoon of Wednesday, August 14th, 
we reached Bakersville, and I went at once to see 
my friend, the mayor, who had been so anxious that 
I should return, that he might be confirmed. He 
gave me a vivid account of the events and of the 
sermon of which I have been speaking. He was a 


good man, I believe, and a man of some ability, 
prominent as a lawyer, and a leading Republican 
politician of his district, and had been their candi- 
date for the Superior Court bench, if I mistake not. 
But he was a very timid man, and I found him in a 
state of much alarm, thinking himself in great dan- 
ger, on account of his declared purpose of being 
confirmed. He assured me that his convictions and 
his purpose had undergone no change ; that he would 
meet me in Asheville to be confirmed, or he would 
come down to Raleigh ; but he said he could not be 
confirmed in the public street in Bakersville : he did 
not know what might happen to him before morn- 
ing if he should do this. I urged on him his duty, as 
a Christian and as a man, to act in accordance with 
his conscience and his reason, and that he should put 
under his feet the base fears which made him quail 
before the face of men, so much his inferiors in intel- 
ligence and character. I assured him that if he 
would show them how little he feared or regarded 
them, they would not venture to menace or to harm 
him. "Oh, Bishop," he said, "you do not know 
them. Why, I have had a man sleeping in my barn 
for the last three weeks, for fear it would be set on 
fire." I do not myself believe that there was any 
such danger as he apprehended, or that his neigh- 
bors or any one intended any such injury to him. 
He was notoriously a timid man, but I think his state 
of mind does illustrate to some extent the situation 
at the time. I may add that, a jenr or two after- 
wards, this man did appear in Raleigh, where I hap- 
pened to be at a Sunday night service, but with no 
purpose of holding a confirmation, and came up and 
asked me to confirm him, and I did so during the 

Notice had been given that I would preach and 
administer confirmation by the Main Street in front 
of the court-house at half -past ten o'clock Thursday 


morning, August 15th. Mr. Jones had lost his sur- 
plice when his saddle-bags had been carried down 
Big Ivy Creek, July 2d, and had not as yet been able 
to procure another; so, as we were in the law office 
of our friend, Mr. Love, preparing for the service, 
I said to Mr. Jones: ''As you have no surplice, I 
think I will not wear my vestments; and being in 
the public street, perhaps it will be more seemly." 
''Yes," said Mr. Jones, "I think that will perhaps 
be best." Thereupon, Mr. Love, who does not like 
anything which looks like flinching, said, but with 
becoming modesty: "Bishop, you and Mr. Jones are 
much better judges of what is proper on this occa- 
sion than I am. At the same time, I cannot help say- 
ing that, if a thing is worth doing at all, it is worth 
doing right." "And that is entirely true," I re- 
sponded; "I will put on everything I have, and I 
wish I had more to put on for this service." So I 
went down in rochet, stole and chimere, and read a 
chapter from the Bible, said the Creed, the Lord's 
Prayer and Collects, sang a hymn, preached half an 
hour or more, and confirmed a man (brother of my 
friend, the mayor), kneeling on the ground by the 
side of the street. Many people were gathered 
around, many others in the doors and windows of 
the court-house, and of the houses along the street, 
looking on. When I began to preach I doubted 
whether my voice could reach them all. After I had 
been speaking five minutes, I felt as if I could make 
them hear me a mile away. I never spoke with more 
ease, freedom, and enjoyment, or with a greater 
sense of the high privilege of being a servant and 
ambassador of my Lord. 

In Mr. Love's house, after the service, I baptized 
a young woman and confirmed her and another can- 

In the afternoon I had to return towards Marion 
on my way to other fields of duty. 


Valle Crucis Mission. 

Before returning to his work on the Watauga, 
Mr. Jones had to drive me to Marion, that I might 
take the train for my next appointment. The dis- 
tance is not much under forty miles, as I remember; 
so we drove only part of the way that afternoon, 
and spent the night in a house by the roadside. The 
next day we crossed the Blue Ridge by Holyfield 
Oap, called also Abernathy's Gap, the pass used by 
the Watauga men in 1780 when they marched to 
meet and destroy Ferguson and his Tories at King's 
Mountain. Marion was the most accessible station 
on the railroad from Baker sville, and Mr. Jones had 
^5ometimes to use this route, though Marion was .not 
in his field. 

In recalling my experiences in administering the 
Diocese, few things seem to me to have been more 
delightful than my long drives through the moun- 
tain!^ for days together, and sometimes for ten days 
or two weeks, with Milnor Jones. I believe we 
always had the same outfit of buggy and horses, 
which had served us so well in crossing Big Ivy. 
Mr. Jones was one of the best and most careful 
drivers — for his team — whom I have ever known. 
He had no special regard for his own comfort; he 
cared very little for the comfort of his companion, 
and not a great deal for the vehicle. But of the wel- 
fare and comfort of his horses he was never for a 
moment forgetful. 

In fixing upon a stopping-place for the night, 
solicitude for his team was his ruling motive. He 
had a great dislike for tavern-keepers and ostlers. 
He looked out for some plain and substantial farm 
house, where was a good barn and big haystacks. 
Any accommodation or food, however plain or 
coarse, was quite good enough for him, so he might 



be sure of a good feed of oats or corn and unlimited 
hay for his horses at night, and a light feed for 
them the next morning. He always attended to 
their feeding, watering, and grooming himself. With 
coat off, and brush and curry-comb in hand, after the 
longest and hardest day's drive, he would give half 
an hour, or an hour if need were, with honest pride 
and enjoyment, to cleaning and rubbing down back, 
sides, and legs of his good horse John and of John's 
partner in labor, before leading them to their stalls 
and their supper. At crack of day he would be up, 
giving them their light feed of corn and hay ; and 
he alwa3^s looked carefully to the adjustment of the 
harness, and trusted nothing of all this to other 
hands or eyes. Bright and early we would have our 
breakfast, and be off upon our day's drive of thirty 
or forty miles, over mountain roads presenting in 
parts abundant illustrations of everything which a 
road ought not to be. We seldom experienced bad 
weather. June and July are delightful months in 
the high mountain counties of North Carolina ; and 
nowhere in this part of the world are more extensive 
and charming prospects. A long day's drive gave 
great variety of beautiful scenery, and much leisure 
for its enjoyment. He always drove very slowly the 
first part of the day, and carefully noted the condi- 
tion and spirits of his horses. Three or four miles 
an hour was as much as he cared to get out of them 
before the noon rest and bait. But when they had 
enjoyed an hour's rest at midday, with a moderate 
bait of oats or corn, and after we had had our fried 
bacon, corn-bread and buttermilk at some -farm 
house, the pace would mend a bit, and, with an 
hour's warming to their work, he would begin to 
give them their heads and put them to their best gait ; 
and from that time until night we would go at their 
very best speed, wherever the road permitted. "You 
can't hurt them now. They enjoy this as much as 



we do," he would say. And at the day's end our 
horses would be fresh and in fine spirits. 

When traveling' alone he always went horseback. 
On one such journey from Marion to Bakersville he 
had as his companion on the road a prominent 
young lawyer of Marion, whom he had known as a 
boy in Eutherfordton. He had made an appoint- 
ment with him to take the trip together, that he 
might have an opportunity for a serious conference 
with him on religious duty and the claims of the 
Church. After some ordinary conversation, with 
kindly inquiries after old acquaintances, he began 
to draw out his young friend upon the subject of 
his religious duty and his spiritual state. The young 
man, having been brought up a Baptist, had not been 
baptized in infancy, and had made no religious pro- 
fession. He had talked with Mr. Jones before, and 
he now became so much impressed by Mr. Jones's 
conversation, and was so much moved by his instruc- 
tive and enlightening setting forth of Christian 
truth and duty, that it was very soon another case 
of Philip the Deacon and the Treasurer of Queen 
Candace. As they journeyed they came to water, 
the beautiful stream and the clear waters of Arm- 
strong's Creek. "What doth hinder me to be bap- 
tized?" "If thou believe with all thine heart, thou 
mayest" — is in effect the simple record of both 
cases. They went down to the waters of the creek, 
and there the Deacon baptized his convert — and by 
immersion. That young man has since become 
prominent in the public affairs of the State, one of 
its distinguished lawyers and politicians, and re- 
mains a zealous Churchman.* 

*M0DE OF Baptism. — Milnor Jones frequently baijtized his converts 
by immersion, as the Church allows this, and as the Baptist influence 
xmder which they had grown up made them desire it. But he did not 
himself believe that it was the apostolic mode or the scriptural mode, 
and he published some controversial tracts on the subject. He told me 
that when his candidates insisted on being immersed he took them into 
the water, and at the words, "In the Name of the Father," he poured 
water upon the head; at the words, "And of the Son," he sprinkled 



Another eminent lawyer, who had been brought 
up a Presbyterian, but who was not at all a religious 
man, spoke to me once of having* met the Rev. Mil- 
nor Jones on the train, where they occupied a seat 
together, and had had some conversation. He had 
been much impressed with the man, but, he said, 
"He talked too much about religion." He had not 
liked such "uncomfortable doctrine" as he proba- 
bly heard ; but it was quite apparent that it was that 
very thing which had so deeply impressed him. He 
did not like it, yet his conscience told him that tlie 
minister was doing his duty, and he respected and 
admired him for it. 

As interesting as had been our experiences at 
Bakersville, I had to remind Mr. Jones that his chief 
work must be the revival of the old Mission at Valle 
Crucis. I wished him to subordinate other work to 
that, and to keep that ever before his mind as his 
chief aim and purpose. And, indeed, he had the 
same sentiment himself, and greatly desired to ac- 
complish that design. The idea of such a work 
appealed to him, and he felt a good deal of enthu- 
siasm for the cause. Unfortunately, however, he 
was constitutionally unable to pursue one detinite 
course, but by his strong sympathies, easily appealed 
to, and readily diverted to the claims of the imme- 
diate opportunity in other directions, he Avas pre- 
vented from concentrating his energies persistently 
and continuously to carry througli to tlie end one 
great work. I recognized tliis wlieu I gave liim the 
three counties. 1 knew he must have a wide range 
and variety of pasture to keep up his spirits and to 
supply abundant stimulus to his zeal. But 1 be- 
lieved it would be possible to get him to make such 
a beginning in tluit long deserted field as might 

water upon them; and at the words, "And of the Holy Ghost," he im- 
mersed the whole body once. As the candidate ^ot what he wanted, the 
immersion, he did not object to Mr. Jones's use of the prccediiij;- ])our- 
ing and sprintling. 



enable others to enter in and build upon his founda- 

By the autumn and winter of 1895 I thought that 
a sufficient beginning had been made, and interest 
created, among the people along the Watauga River, 
in the vicinity of Valle Crucis, to warrant me in 
attempting to prepare to give some permanence to 
the work. It was now necessary to determine just 
what should be the scope and design of the work, 
and how much it would be proper to attempt at first. 
A short passage from my address to the Convention 
of the Missionary District of Asheville assembled at 
Morganton, September 23, 1896, will sufficently set 
forth the purpose then entertained : 

"Our most extensive missionary enterprise is the 
Valle Crucis Mission, embracing in its scope the 
counties of Watauga, Mitchell, and Ashe. This is 
practically the same ground covered by the old mis- 
sionaries of Valle Crucis in Bishop Ives's time. The 
work was revived just two years ago, when in Sep- 
tember, 1894, I sent the Rev. Milnor Jones to Valle 



Site of Easter Chapel, an old Valle Crucis Mission House of the 
Rev. Henry H. Prout. 

Crucis, directing him to make his headquarters at 
the old Mission, but to include within the scope of 
his endeavors the three counties above mentioned. 

^'I should perhaps state in this place that, though 
I located my mission at the same place, and call it 
by the old name, it has never been my purpose to 
renew the scheme of work proposed by Bishop Ives. 
He had in mind a boarding school for boys, drawing 
patronage from all parts of the State, a diocesan 
training school for the clergy, and perhaps other 
objects of general interest and value to the whole 
Diocese. My scheme is confined to such things as 
have a direct bearing upon the work of evangelizing 
the people of these counties. I should like to make 
Valle Crucis an associate mission, from which 



pieaehers and teachers should go out and keep up 
the work of evangelizing, instructing, and educating 
wherever an opening might be found or made." 

This being the purpose in mind, we began to look 
about for means to erect a house for a center and 
home of the work. The property of the old "Valle 
Crucis Abbey," as Bishop Ives loved to call it, had 
been acquired, after the work was given up, by Mr. 
Henry Taylor, and at his death had passed to his 
children. At this time it was mostly owned by Mr. 
Charles D. Taylor, who was a Methodist, but who 
kindly promised that we might count on having 
part of the old tract for our building, when we 
should be in a position to proceed with the con- 

It is not my purpose to go into the details of this 
work, except so far as it is related to the services of 
the Rev. Milnor Jones. I had made some attempts 
to raise funds, and had a small sum on hand. Mr. 
Jones was eager to make an appeal for so much as 
might enable us to put up a building at Valle Crucis, 
and to establish mission schools there, and also at 
Bakersville, the southern limit of his work, and at 
Beaver Creek, his northernmost station in Ashe 
County. I therefore gave him permission to make the 
attempt, and furnished him with commendatory let- 
ters and with money for his expenses. Early in 
November, 1895, he began his campaign for funds. 
For several months he labored at that most ungrate- 
fvil of tasks with the zeal and pertinacity which 
characterized all his endeavors. In his way he made 
almost as much ofi a sensation, when he came into 
contact with clergymen and laymen in our large 
cities, as among our country people in the moun- 
tains. Many curious stories were for some years 
floating about in Nev/ York at the Church Missions 
House, and in other places, about his oddities and 
his persistence and ingenuity in presenting the 
claims of Valle Crucis. 


He was not unsuccessful. He raised a good sum 
of money, and during the year 1896 we were able to 
establish mission schools at Yalle Crucis and at Bea- 
ver Creek, of which latter enterprise more shall be 
told after a while. 

In the meantime he pressed on the work at Valle 
Crucis. Up and down the Watauga River, up Clark's 
Creek, along Laurel Fork by Bill Holler's mill, down 
by St. John's Church, Milnor Jones and his horse 
John were passing and repassing, and the country- 
side began to have its stories of his rude wit and 
rough pleasantries in his controversies with his 
many opponents. His first antagonists were the 
Baptists and a mountain sect called " Adventists." 
The more intelligent people about Valle Crucis were 
chiefly Methodists, and they rather enjoyed these 
stories. He was very attentive to the welfare of his 
good horse, and always fed him himself and at- 
tended carefully to his grooming. One good Meth- 
odist lady being asked where Mr. Jones was, replied 
that the last she had heard of him "He Avas currying 
down John, and the Baptists." Unfortunately, he 
did not confine himself to one or two sets of oppo- 
nents, but soon had them all equally irritated and 
antagonistic. But his friends were all the more 
loyal and zealous in their support of him ; and both 
friends and enemies found many elements of kind- 
ness and good-fellowship in him. With the poorest 
people he was always gentle and friendly, and many 
of this class still cherish a warm affection for his 
memory. The only photograph of him "which I have 
been able to obtain I had copied from one which 
some years after his departure he had sent to one of 
the oldest, poorest, and most illiterate of his Valle 
Crucis flock. It was with such that he loved best to 
stop and exchange the kindly offices of friendship. 
With the very poor he often stopped for the night in 
traveling about, and shared their coarse food and 
slept upon their hard beds. He said he could not 



expect the very poor to believe that he really cared 
for them if they found that he always preferred to 
stay with others. And they felt the reality of the 
good Avill expressed in this habitual acceptance of 
their hospitality, and were proud of it. One of the 
things they loved to tell of him — and, I have no 
doubt, still love to tell — was how he would stop and 
eat their poor food and sleep hard and cold in their 
poor houses. 

Jackson Townsend and his wife. 

And among these poorer people he found some 
traces of the old Valle Crucis Mission and its work. 
Old Mrs. Townsend, of Clark's Creek, declared that 
she "had always been Episcopal." She said she had 
been baptized by Bishop Ives, and that she had had 
all her children baptized in the Church. After Mr., 
Skiles's death, when there was no clergyman of the 
Church in the county, she said she would keep the 
baby waiting until some clergyman would come 
around. And her daughter, Timothy Townsend 's 
wife, shared her loyal attachments. "Timothy war 
Lutheran," she said, "but I pulled and I pulled, and 


now he is Episcopal." She was truly a fruitful vine 
upon the walls of Timothy's humble mountain cabin, 
and when she had her sixteenth baby baptized she 
was indeed happy, and in telling- of it she said, "I 
was so glad for the baby." 

But the work of the old Valle Crucis Mission had 
left more important and more widespread results 
than the faint memories of a few old and obscure 
mountaineers. The whole population of that section 
of Watauga County retained an impression of that 
noble effort. A very intelligent observer and mis- 
sionary, the Rev. Samuel F. Adam, who followed 
Mr. Jones in the immediate care of this work, and 
who spent a year or two in traveling about, mostly 
on foot, all through our missionary field in the three 
counties under consideration, was much impressed 
with the superior intelligence and general social de- 
velopment of the native population along the Wa- 
tauga River, as compared with other parts of that 
country and the adjoining counties of Ashe and 
Mitchell. And the result of his observation and 
careful investigation and inquiiy satisfied him that 
this superiority was directly and distinctly trace- 
able to the work of old Valle Crucis School and mis- 
sionaries. Most of the men who were well advanced 
in middle age, or a little beyond, had come under 
those influences ; many of them had been pupils in 
the school. My own limited observation produced 
the same impression upon my mind. One of the 
most intelligent and influential men in that neigh- 
borhood said to me that all the education he had 
ever recived had been in the old Valle Crucis School, 
and its influences was still to be observed in the 
general intellectual and social life of the community. 

That those enlightening and elevating influences 
might be renewed, increased, and extended, was my 
earnest desire and hope. With this view, a mission 
school was started at Valle Crucis in 1896, and as 
soon as I could see any reasonable prospect of rais- 



ing- money for a building, I set about establishing a 
permanent home. Mr. Charles D. Taylor conveyed 
to me for this purpose, or rather to the proper trus- 
tees, a tract of three acres, part of the old Mission 
property, and, with the money raised by Mr. Jones, 
the building was erected during the years 1896 and 
1897. Where Crab Orchard Creek comes down from 
its mountain glen, it opens into a beautiful cove of 
one or two acres, just before it descends to the 
broader valley forming the northern arm of the 
cross which gave the name Valle Crucis. This cove 
opens to the south, with a fairly level surface, Crab 
Orchard Creek running close under the slope of the 
mountain-side forming its eastern boundary. Near 
the steep bank on the western side of the cove, under 
a clump of rhododendron and kalmia, a cold spring 
of pure water bursts from the hillside. In this shel- 
tered spot, backed by the forest-clad mountain, and 
closed in on two sides by projecting spurs, was 
placed the Mission House. It is a modest, unpreten- 
tious structure, with a hall running through the 
middle, and two rooms on each side of the hall, and 
a like arrangement in the second story. It was built 
of wood, and cost, to the best of my memory, twelve 
hundred dollars. It very fairly expressed the plain 
and practical character of the scheme of work then 
entertained. It was intended as a home for a teacher 
and the missionary, and perhaps a few pupils who 
might assist in^ the domestic duties of the household 
while enjoying the benefit of the school. In advance 
of this building, and near the public road passing 
along the front of the cove, the building, to include 
both chapel and school-room, was to stand, but this 
was not erected until after Mr. Jones had left the 

The completion of the Mission House practically 
coincides with the termination of Mr. Jones's con- 
nection with Valle Crucis. He continued in the same 
field, but he was no longer specially concerned with 


this part of the work. About this time we secured 
the services of the Rev. Samuel F. Adam, and the 
special charge of Valle Crucis was committed to him. 
Mr. Jones continued his general round of services, 
and gave special attention to an interesting work 
which he had built up in Ashe County, some five or 
six miles from the town of Jefferson, and aboat 
thirty miles distant from Valle Crucis. 

All this time his family remained, where he had 
established them on his first coming to Valle Crucis, 

Mission House built in 1896-7. 

in the little mountain town of Elk Park, on the nar- 
row-gauge railroad running from Johnson City, 
Tennessee, to the Cranberry Iron Mine, in Mitchell 
County. Fortunately Mr. Jones had an income from 
funds held in trust for him, and this income assured 
his family of a support independent of the modest 
salary paid him as missionary. He was a very un- 
selfish man, and spent little money on himself, ex- 
cept the necessary expenses of traveling and of 
caring for his good horse John. But he was open- 
handed as the day, and poverty is ever present in 



the remote mountains. Probably little of Mr. Jones's 
small salary found its way into the domestic treas- 
ury, and Mrs. Jones's scanty supplies were not safe 
from Mr. Jones's indiscriminate charity. It is said 
that in looking over her monthly account at the vil- 
lage store Mrs. Jones was once surprised to find an 
item of fifty pairs of yarn socks. Upon inquiry, it 
appeared that Mr. Jones made a practice of leaving 
home with his saddle-bags stuffed full of yarn socks, 
such as used to be knit by the country people, and 
bartered at the store for merchandise. Whenever 
he found a poor person needing socks — and there 
were many such — he would have a pair ready. And 
when he had no money to pay for them he would 
have them charged to the family account ! 

Andy Luske, the Bear Hunter. 


Beaver Creek. 

Watauga County, in the heart of the Blue Ridge, 
is wholly mountainous, with the Grandfather, one 
of the noblest domes of that lofty section, lying upon 
its southern border; with the narrow valleys of the 
Watauga River and its affluents running through its 
middle from south to northwest, and the valley of 
the South Fork of New River beginning along its 
eastern side. 

Ashe County lies north and northeast of Watauga, 
and somewhat west of the ridge of the great moun- 
tain chain. It has here and there beautiful moun- 
tains rising above the surrounding country, but is 
much less broken and precipitous in its general 
formation, and presents to the eye great billowy 
hills, heaving up their broad sides and spreading 
out their spacious summits to the sky, with cattle 
standing knee-deep in the rich grass of their hillside 
pastures, white patches of buckwheat in the new 
clearings, and the valleys dark-green with rustling 
corn. The North Fork of New River rises some- 
where near its western border, running with a gen- 
eral northeasterly course towards the Virginia line ; 
and the South Fork, coming in from Watauga 
County, runs northerly along its eastern side. It is 
a beautiful county and one of the finest grazing sec- 
tions anywhere to be found. Jefferson, the county- 
seat, near the center of the county, has its broad 
main street set with double rows of cherry trees on 
each side, which in this fine, cool mountain climate, 
show an extraordinary growth and productiveness 
seldom seen so far south. Five miles from Jefferson, 
on the road towards Boone, the county-seat of 
Watauga, the road crosses Beaver Creek. A large 
academy building on the summit of a high hill used 
to form a conspicuous landmark, and on the other 


side of the creek was a large country store, a mill, 
and two handsome residences, with other buildings 
. in sight in the near distance. The two principal 
houses are the homes of Rufus and William Hamil- 
ton, and their brother Hege Hamilton's house is one 
of those seen not far off. Passing along from 
Wilkesboro on my way towards the residence of the 
late Dr. Joseph 0. Wilcox, some ten or twelve miles 
to the west, I crossed Beaver Creek, June 21, 1894, 
and was so much struck with the fine location, the 
extensive prospect, the high, rolling hills, the well 
conditioned cattle, and the general appearance of 
thrift and prosperity, implying intelligence and in- 
dustry beyond what is common in the mountain 
country, that I made some inquiries about Beaver 
Creek, which confirmed my first favorable impres- 
sion. I learned, moreover, from Mrs. Wilcox, that 
Mrs. Rufus Hamilton was a Churchwoman and an 
old pupil of St. Mary's School, Raleigh. 

When I sent Mr. Jones to Valle Crucis I asked 
him to visit Beaver Creek, and to see if anything 
could be done there. The year 1895 had been de- 
voted chiefly to Valle Crucis and Bakersville ; and 
the last months of 1895, and the first month or two 
of 1896, to his effort to raise money for his work. 
Biut he had kept up periodical services at several 
points in x\she County; and at Beaver Creek had 
succeeded in arousing much interest, being cordially 
, . supported by Mrs. Rufus Hamilton and her good 
husband, and having made friends Avith the miller 
and his family and a circle of other country people. 

After his return to his mission field about the first 
of March, 1896, he gave special attention to Beaver 
Creek. In that neighborhood Mr. Rufus Hamilton 
and Mr. Hege Hamilton, both men of intelligence, 
wealth, and prominence, had signified their purpose 
of coming into the Church with their households. 
Over beyond the South Fork of New River, towards 
Reddies River Gap, lived a prominent family by the 


name of Bowie. Mr. Jones had held services in their 
neighborhood, where now has been built a church 
called Trinity Church, Glendale Springs. Over on 
the North Fork of New Eiver was also the family of 
Dr. Wilcox, already mentioned, but too distant to 
co-operate in the work at Beaver Creek. 

The Church, as we understand it, had been utterly 
unknown in and around Beaver Creek. There was 
a large Baptist congregation a few miles off, known 
as "Buffalo Church," and there were also a con- 
siderable number of M^ethodists, among whom were 
many prominent and intelligent people. But the 
"Episcopal Church" was utterly unknown to the 
vast majority of the people until the advent of Mil- 
nor Jones. He had set forth very plainly from the 
first his conception of the history, character, and 
claims of the Church, and its essential superiority to 
all modern organizations. He had very widely dis- 
tributed copies of the Prayer Book, and he had not 
only drawn large congregations, but it began to be 
seen that he was bringing into the Church some of 
the best and most respected people of the section, 
among the poor, as well as among the more wealthy. 
And, after his fashion, he had not failed to give very 
free expression to his unfavorable opinion of the 
Baptists and Methodists, and his repudiation of their 
claims to be adequate representatives of the true 
Church of Christ, either in their teaching or organi- 

"When he resumed his regular services and visits 
early in 1896, he resolved upon a bold move. He 
was alM^ays inclined to the sensational and spectacu- 
lar. As in his early days in Polk County, he had 
rented the very court-house and opened a mission 
school in it, so now he rented the large academy 
building, standing on the summit of a hill overlook- 
ing Beaver Creek, and begged me to send him two 
teachers that he might open a school for all the chil- 
dren of the neighborhood. I sent him a young man, 



John C. Seagie, a Postulant, one of a Henderson 
County family who had come into the Church under 
Mr. Jones's ministry about 1885. At the same time 
I sent also a young lady teacher, Miss Lou Smith, of 
Scotland Neck. As it had been customary to hold 
religious services in this building, which we had 
now leased for two years, I was careful to have it 
given out that all denominations of Christian people 
were free to use the academy for public worship on 
any Sunday except that on which Mr. Jones had his 
monthly appointment, and on such Sunday as I 
might appoint for a visitation. 

All this, especially as interpreted b}^ Mr. Jones's 
preaching, was sufficiently disagreeable and irritat- 
ing to the Methodists and Baptists of the neighbor- 
hood. And Mr. Jones's enthusiastic friends among- 
the more uneducated people began to assert that 
"Brother Jones and his Pr'ar Books would soon 
break up Buffalo." In the midst of this growing' 
irritation came the announcement that on the third 
Sunday in June the Bishop would visit Beaver Creek 
"for the purpose of organizing and establishing the 
Church" at that point. What that meant exactly 
was but imperfectly understood, even by Mr. Jones's 
I own candidates for confirmation ; but they gathered 
from him that it would be something great indeed. 
He did not fail to magnify the office and work of the 
Bishop, and June 21st was looked forward to with 
great and joyful expectation by those interested in 
his work, wdtli very lively interest by the people of 
the neighborhood generally, and with an apprehen- 
sion of some mysterious and unknown evil by the 
enthusiastic members of "Buffalo" and other local 
congregations. They got an impression from Mr. 
Jones's representations of an Episcopal visitation 
that it boded disaster to all "opposers." 

June 16, 1896, I went up from Greensboro to 
Wilkesboro, where I was met, according to agree- 
ment, by Mr. Jones, that I might visit his Ashe and 


'Watauga County Missions. He had the same stout 
buggy and team which had served us so well the 
year before in our Valle Crusis and Bakersville jour- 
neys. We drove that afternoon only part of the 
way, spending the night at the house of Mr. Owens, 
near Miller's Creek, Wilkes County. At a school- 
house near by we had a service, and I preached. The 
-next day we drove up through Reddies River Gap, 
across the Blue Ridge, into Ashe County, to the 
house of Dr. Joseph 0. Wilcox, on the North Fork 
of New River. Thursday, June 18th, we had a ser- 
vice at Willow Grove School-House, near Creston, in 
the forenoon, and at night in Piney Grove Church, 
near Dr. Wilcox's. Friday we drove into Jefferson, 
and in the afternoon went on to the house of Mr. 
Rufus A. Hamilton, at Beaver Creek, where I had an 
,appointment that night, as well as for Sunday after- 

Quite a large congregation assembled in the acad- 
emy for our 8 o'clock service, and I was conscious of 
a subdued excitement pervading the assembly, which 
I attributed to the general expectation of the novel 
and important service of confirmation on Sunday 
morning, a number of the candidates being present 
at this preliminary service. Confirmation had never 
been administered in this community before, and 
there was a natural interest felt in it. At this Fri- 
day night service I baptized a girl, one of the can- 
didates, and preached, as I had done at my first 
service in Bakersville, on the nature and necessity 
of Conversion. 

After the service I noticed that all our friends and 
special adherents gathered around me as I came out 
of the academy, and accompanied me all the way to 
Mr. Rufus Hamilton's house. They were talking 
very earnestly, though I could not quite make out the 
subject of their conversation. I heard one of them 
say to another, "I don't think there will be any 
trouble. Cal. Graybeal was there tonight and heard 



the Bishop preach, and he said he thinks the Bishop 
is all right," or something to that general effect. I 
had no idea who Cal. Graybeal might be, or why he 
should be pleased or displeased. Indeed, but for 
what followed I should not have remembered this 
conversation overheard Friday night. 

Saturday we spent making some visits in the 
neighborhood, especially to such persons as were to 
be confirmed the next day. Every one seemed much 
interested, and there seemed a general spirit of eager 
anticipation, coupled with an undercurrent of un- 
certainty and excitement, which I thought not un- 
natural. Mr. Jones was eager and confident, and 
busy in various preparations for our service. 

June 21st, the Third Sunday after Trinity, was a 
fair and beautiful day. Soon after breakfast, look- 
ing from my window in Mr. Rufus Hamilton's house, 
across the narrow valley of Beaver Creek, lying be- 
low, and then up to where the academy crowned the 
summit of the opposite hill, three or four hundred 
yards distant, I observed a number of horses tied to 
the fence and their owners standing about the acad- 
emy door. From time to time others would ride up, 
tie their horses to the fence, and join the group. I 
thought with myself that our service was attracting 
even greater attention than I had anticipated. By 
9 o'clock there seemed to be at least twenty or thirty 
men assembled, and their number continually in- 
creased by the arrival of others. 

We had an appointment at 11 o'clock the next day 
some twelve miles off, near Elk Cross Roads, on the 
border of Watauga County. Mr. Jones's horse John 
had been a little sick the evening before, with what 
Mr. Jones feared might be, as he termed it, "water- 
farcy," from drinking too freely of cold spring 
water while overheated. Feeling some anxiety on 
this account, I went out to the barn about 9 o'clock 
to see how the horse was doing. In the barnyard I 
found Mr. Rufus Hamilton in close conference with 


his brother William. I thought they looked toward 
me from time to time, and seemed to be in some 
trouble or uncertainty about me. I therefore joined 
them and asked what might be the trouble. They 
hesitated and seemed quite reluctant to speak, inti- 
mating that they were unwilling to let me know the 
situation. Upon being pressed for an explanation, 
they said that they were very deeply mortified, as 
well as indignant, that I should be so treated on my 
first visit to their neighborhood ; that the crowd at 
the academy had sent representatives to them to say 
that I would not be allowed to preach there in ac- 
cordance with my appointment. They declared that 
they were amazed and indignant, and at a loss how 
to proceed. Mr. William Hamilton, who was a 
Methodist, said he would be very glad to have me 
preach at his house, and that perhaps it would be 
best that I should do this. They seemed to think it 
useless to attempt to keep my appointment. I 
thanked Mr. William Hamilton for his offer, and 
told him there was nothing that they could do, and 
that I must take the matter into my own hands. 

I felt at once that it would not do for me to yield 
to such an insolent message and allow these men to 
frighten me into abandoning my appointment. They 
would at once declare that they had had no real pur- 
pose of interfering with me, and that I had been 
scared off. At the same time I felt that it would not 
be becoming to engage in a foolish brawl on Sunday 
morning. I determined, therefore, to proceed quiet- 
ly with my purpose, as if nothing had happened, and 
not to desist until stopped by actual force. This 
would prevent any imputation of cowardice on my 
part, and would put them in the position of rioters 
and lawbreakers, while I believed I could so manage 
it as to avoid any unseemly violence and wrangling. 
I therefore returned to my room, went carefully 
over the situation in my own mind, and determined 


on the course of action which I thought proper to 

A little after 10 o'clock I called Mr. John Seagle, 
my missionary teacher in charge of our school, and 
asked him to prepare to accompany me, and to take 
a large basket, with the vessels and the elements for 
the Holy Communion, and our supply of Prayer 
Books. I would not allow Mr. Jones or Mr. Hamil- 
ton, or any of our friends, to go along, but charged 
them to remain where they were, and to stop all 
others who might come up, unless I should send for 
them. I felt that Mr. Seagle would do only what I 
should tell him to do. I feared I could not restrain 
our other friends from resenting any injurious 
words or actions offered me, and I was determined 
to avoid any discreditable contention. 

The steps where the Bishop's "knees felt weak.' 


Followed by Mr. Seagle with the hasket, I started 
to the academy. It stood out in full view from Mr. 
Hamilton's residence, and by this time the crowd of 
men had greatly increased, numbering certainly a 
good many more than fifty. As I descended the 
steps, looking across the narrow valley to the clus- 
tering crowd, I felt a distinct weakness in my knees, 
as if they would give way under me, and with an 
inward suffusion of shame I said to myself, "I won- 
der if T am a coward and afraid to face those men." 
But then it came into my mind that it was of no 
great consequence how my knees felt, so long as my 
will made them carry me forward, and I knew I had 
not the least inclination to pause or go back. This 
thought comforted me, and I went on across the 
foot-bridge, over Beaver Creek, and up the long 
slope of the hill towards the academy. As I began 
to mount the hill the feeling of weakness departed 
from my knees, and all inward perturbation of spirit 
passed off. I felt only a kind of wonder that the 
men I was approaching should be so foolish and 
ignorant. I was conscious of no sentiment of anger 
or ill will, but only of a kind of wonder that they 
should know no better. 

As I drew nearer, they made no sound, but simply 
gathered in a compact mass before and around the 
little elevation in front of the entrance to the build- 
ing, so that I could not approach it. I walked up 
and addressed them as if they had assembled to join 
in my service, ''Good morning, gentlemen." I said: 
"I have an appointment to preach in this building 
at 11 o'clock, so I must go in and prepare for the 
service." When I bade them good-morning, I heard 
a sort of inarticulate murmur of response ; but when 
I had ceased speaking there was silence. Then some 
one said, ''We have concluded not to have any 
preaching here today." "Yes," I said, "but I am 
going to preach here." "No," was the response; 
"there is going to be no preaching here today." 


"What do you mean?" I said. "Do you claim to 
own this building-, that you refuse to allow me to use 
it?" A voice from the back of the crowd called out, 
"Do you own it?" "No," I replied, "I do not own 
it, but 1 have the right to use it. I have the author- 
ity from those who do own it." "Well, we are not 
going- to allow anybody to have any service here to- 
day," the first speaker said, and this sentiment was 
confirmed in various ways by a number of the 
crowd. "Gentlemen," I said, "what do you mean 
by this outrageous and unlawful behavior, gathering 
here and forcibly preventing me from entering and 
using a building which I have a right to use?" A 
man who seemed all along, with one or two others, 
to dominate and lead the crowd, replied: "We have 
nothing against you, but we don't like Mr. Jones. 
He has abused our denomination and he has abused 
us, and we understand that you preach the same 
doctrine. Don't you preach the same doctrine that 
he does?" "I do not propose to be examined by 
you as to what I preach," I replied. "I preach the 
truth, and it is the worse for you if you do not re- 
ceive it. I am going to preach here today, unless 
J you stop me by force. Do you mean to say that you 
' will forcibly prevent me ?" I had made up my mind 
that if they should say they intended to use force I 
would proceed no further. A crowd of men so 
gathered together and declaring that they would use 
force to keep me out of the building would in law 
be guilty of a riot and an assault, and it was only 
; my purpose to go so far as to put them clearly in 
the wrong, and to show that I had not failed to keep 
my appointment from any weakness or timidity. 
When I asked them if they intended to .stop me by 
force, they made no reply whatever. I thought then, 
and I think now, that their leaders had taken legal 
advice and had been told how to avoid, if possible, 
any overt lawless act. When they thus stood silent, 
refusing to declare their intention, I said: "Now, 


grentlemen, I am going into this house and keep my 
appointment, unless you stop me by force." Turn- 
ing to Mr. Seagle, I asked him to give me the key of 
the academy. He handed it to me. "Please let me 
pass through to the door," I said, and endeavored 
to press my way between them. Thereupon the men 
nearest me, as I tried to make my way into the 
crowd, put out their hands and pushed me back. 
When they had thus forced me back, I desisted at 
once. "Now, gentlemen, you have gone to the ex- 
tent of committing an assault upon me and stopping 
me by force. I cannot contend with a hundred men. 
But I call upon all persons present to witness that I 
protest against this action as an outrage against the 
constitution and laws of the State of North Caro- 
lina. I am glad to believe that your action does not 
represent the feeling of the best and most intelligent 
people of this community. As you will not allow me 
to preach here, I shall go down and preach at Mr. 
William Hamilton's. He is not a member of the 
Church of which I am a minister, but lie is a Chris- 
tian man and does not sympathize with such pro- 
ceedings as these. I invite you all to come down to 
the service at Mr. Hamilton's. If you will come 
down and join in our worship, and listen to the 
preaching, perhaps it may help you to feel better 
than you do now." I thereupon left them, and Mr. 
Seagle and I went down the hill and proceeded to 
the house of Mr. William Hamilton. Here quite a 
number of people had assembled, and much excite- 
ment prevailed. A one-armed man (i. e., with one 
arm paralyzed), named John Hardin, on horseback, 
was moving about among the people, brandishing his 
one arm, calling on all those present to resent the 
outrage committed at the academy, and declaring 
that if no one would accompany him he would go up 
and "clean up" the lot, single-handed. I assured 
them that I was unwilling to have any disturbance 
made on my account, and asked them all to join me 


in the service which I was about to hold. It was 
impossible, under the circumstances, to have any 
service save of the simplest character. I therefore 
had only the confirmation office and a sermon. Kneel- 
ing on the grass, under the shade of the maple trees 
in front of Mr. William Hamilton's house, the nine- 
teen candidates received the Laying On of Hands. 
I made a short address to them, and then, after a 
cliaper in the Bible, a hymn, the Creed, and a few 
collects, I preached from Acts viii :12. 

One reason I had for not taking any people of the 
place with me when I went up to the academy was 
that I preferred not to know who the men in the 
mob were. I was told, however, that the leaders 
were two sons of the Baptist preacher at '^Buffalo 
Church," named Duncan, and a 'prominent Metho- 
dist by the name of Calvin Graybeal ; but as this was 
only hearsay to me, I could not have been called on 
to name them in any criminal proceedings. I took 
it for granted that they would be proceeded against 
by the proper authorities for their riot and assault, 
and I had made up my mind in that case to attend 
the trial and to ask that sentence should be sus- 
pended. But they were not presented by the grand 
jury, and the Solicitor in that district, who was a 
prominent Baptist, sent no bill against them, so far 
as I heard. The best people of the community pub- 
lished in the papers a denunciation of their action ; 
and a counter-plea appeared, saying that they had 
been led to it by anger, because they had been re- 
fused the use of the academy for their accustomed 
religious services, which was wholly false ; and there 
the matter ended. 

Monday morning, our horse being quite recov- 
ered, Mr. Jones and I drove to the neighborhood of 
Elk Cross Roads, on the South Fork of New River, 
where we had an appointment at 11 o'clock. We 
found a number of people awaiting, who, however, 
expressed much surprise at seeing us drive up. 


^'Why! You have come, sure enough!" "Yes," I 
said. "Didn't you expect me? Do I not usually 
come when I say I will?" "Yes," they replied, 
"but the mail-carrier came along a little while ago 
and told us that you would not be here today. He 
said that Cal Graybeal had beat up the Bishop so 
bad that he could not travel!" But we had our ser- 
vice, and I baptized an infant, and preached. At a 
private house in the neighborhood later in the day 
I had a service and confirmed a young man. The 
next day we were in St. Luke's Church, Boone, 
where I preached and administered the Holy Com- 

From Wednesday, June 24th, to Sunday, the 28th, 
I was with Mr. Jones at Valle Crucis. Saturday, at 
the residence of Timothy Townsend, on Clark's 
Creek, Timothy lying in a critical condition from 
having a tree fall on him, I administered the Holy 
Communion to the injured man and seven members 
of his family. Sunday, in St. John's Church, I con- 
firmed seven persons and administered the Holy 

I next met Mr. Jones at Bakersville, where we had 
a service, in the court-house, the fifth Sunday after 
Trinity, July 5th, and at night in the country near- 
by we had another service. The following day w& 
had a conference with our people of Bakersville, and 
took steps towards buying a lot and building a 

Before getting back to Valle Crucis, Mr. Jones had 
another perilous adventure in crossing a swollen 
stream ; but this story is already too long. 

On leaving Beaver Creek, I had promised to re- 
turn some time in July. But the excessive rains 
during the second week in July made mountain 
travel so difficult and dangerous that I had to give 
up that plan. 

The seventh Sunday after Trinity, September 
27th, I was again at Beaver Creek. The academy 



being- not a very convenient place for the office of 
the Holy Communion, I had a morning service at the 
residence of Mr. R^fus Hamilton, confirmed three 
persons presented by Mr. Jones, and administered 
the Holy Communion to thirty-three persons. In the 
afternoon we had service and preached in the acad- 
emy. The same day, I authorized the formation of 
a mission congregation under the canons, called 
''The Church of St. Simon the Zealot," and myself 
entered upon the parish register of this mission the 
names of all the communicants of the Church in 
Ashe County. 

I was never able to make another visitation during 
Mr. Jones's ministry. 

Chapel and school-house at Valle Crucis, built after Mr. Jones had left. 


The Ravelled Ends. 

I have come to the end of my story of my Deacon 
and Missionary, Milnor Jones, so far as my personal 
experience goes. And, indeed, I have really come 
to the end of his effective work. He continued in 
the District of Asheville until near the end of the 
year 1897, and his name remained on the Asheville 
clergy list until his death. But he did little or no 
regular service after 1897, so far as I know, though 
I believe he officiated irregularly and for brief 
periods in different places in California and Wash- 
ington. I learned, only after his death, that for 
several years he had lived in Henderson County and 
Hendersonville, in great need and discomfort. I 
had heard a year or two before his death that some 
one had seen him at Mr. Seagle's, in Henderson 
County, and that he had sent me an affectionate 
message ; but I understood that he had merely been 
visiting the Seagles, and I had no idea that he had 
been there for any length of time, but thought he 
was on the Pacific coast. 

As has before been said, he was at all times of a 
peculiar and unaccountable character, and seemed, 
after periods of great energy and activity, to come 
to a state of physical exhaustion, with a correspond- 
ing intellectual and spiritual loss of tone, so to 
speak. Such a condition seemed to be coming on 
him towards the end of 1897. He suffered very dis- 
tressing attacks of the physical malady mentioned 
in connection with his ministry in Polk County. 
During one of such attacks in Ashe County in 1897, 
when he was at a country house far distant from 
medical advice or remedies, being in apparent dan- 
ger of his life, as well as suft'ering intensely, he had 
to use large doses of whiskey — the only means at 
hand by which he could find relief — not merely from 


pain, but from his very critical condition. Of course, 
in the midst of many malicious hearts and tongues, 
it was reported all over the countryside that he was 
drunk, as, indeed, he was, for some hours, under the 
influence of the dose he had taken. But I made 
careful inquiry into the facts and the circumstances, 
and I am thoroughly convinced that the case was 
exactly as I have stated, and that the taking of the 
whiskey was solely as a necessary medicine, and not 
at all the indulgence of a vicious appetite. I knew 
him for years, and have been with him for weeks at 
a time, day and night. At no time during those 
years do I believe that he was otherwise than en- 
tirely sober and temperate in drink and diet. But 
in 1897 he was in a state of depression. His work 
had become more or less a burden instead of a joy- 
ous exercise. He had a feeling that he would be 
better out on the Pacific coast. At the end of that 
year he removed to California. 

The only sight I had of him after 1897 was in 
October, 1901, during the General Convention in 
San Francisco. I had a letter from him, saying that 
he was living in San Rafael, not far distant from 
San Francisco, and begging me to come out and see 
him. Bishop Horner had a similar invitation, and 
we promised to go out and spend a Saturday after- 
noon with him. I think it was October 12th. He 
met us at the railway station in San Rafael and took 
us to his house. 

I do not remember the names of all his children, 
but they were most of them very singular or un- 
usual names. His eldest boy and girl, Clement 
(after his father), and Mary, fared very well; but 
then I remember Boniface and Xavier, Saint Augus- 
tine, and Blandina. As we drove from the station 
with him I asked after his children, and learned that 
he had an infant born since I had seen him. "What 
have you named the baby?" I asked. "I have named 
her after David's mother, the wife of Jesse," he re- 



plied. ''Bishop Horner," I said, "what name had 
David's mother?" "Indeed, I do not know," said 
Bishop Horner. "Her name was Nitzenith," said 
Mr. Jones. "I once read some account of her, and 
of an incident in her married life ; and I admired 
her so much, and her wisdom and goodness in deal- 
ing with her husband and her servant, that I named 
my little girl after her, Nitzenith. Women had a 
hard time in those old days. ' Little Nitzenith must 
be nearly a grown young woman by this; she was a 
little girl of one or two years at that time. 

He told me that, shortly after leaving me, when 
he was living somewhere near the coast in northern 
California, there was in his neighborhood the rem- 
nant of a tribe of Digg(3r Indians. Desiring to do 
something to help them, he undertook to have a 
school for their children, and carried on this work 
among them for some time — I think he said for 
nearly a year. At the end of the year he was mak- 
ing his plans to remove to some other place. By 
way of bringing his work among them to a happy 
conclusion, he sent a small sum of money to some 
friend in Sacramento and bought Christmas gifts for 
the children. At Christmas he had a parting enter- 
tainment for his Indian pupils and friends, and 
wound up his celebration and his work among them 
by baptizing the whole tribe, fifty or sixty in all, 
from "Long-haired Bob," the chief, to the youngest 
baby in the tribe, named J ones, after himself ! 

* I have made many inquiries of scholars and divines as to the name 
of David's mother, but without success. Milnor Jones was the only man 
I ever met who knew her name. Finally, I mentioned to my old col- 
lege friend, the late Dr. Samuel Hart, the account Milnor Jones had 
given of his naming his child after Jesse's wife. He said he thought he 
remembered a note in one of Baring-Gould's books bearing on the sub- 
ject. On going to his book-case, however, it appeared that the volume 
he sought was lacking, and he remembered nothing as to the name. A 
few weeks after my return home, I received a postal card from him in 
these words : 

Kal. Mart. 

Baring-Gould's book has reappeared. He tells the story in Latin, and 
savs that David's mother was named Nitzenith, on the authoritv of the 
Midrash. S. H. 



On ieaving- him that evening, to return to San 
Francisco, he presented me with an Indian basket, 
which he said had been made and given to him by 
"Long-haired Bob." 

This is my story of Milnor Jones, Deacon and Mis- 


Please do not remove 
this date due slip.